26 August 2010

Motorcycle Mama or Motorcycle Mania?

Over 4 years ago, I decided to give up motorbiking in Ireland because of the dangers or riding bikes on Irish roads, yet a year ago I got my 500cc Yamaha Black Max scooter out again and have been riding it since with ever growing enjoyment.
In June this year, we visited a friend who has a 650cc Suzuki motorbike and for the first time in years, I went for a spin on a "proper" motorbike again. That should've really been the end of that, shouldn't it? - Wrong!
Two weeks ago, just before my birthday, I bought a Honda Varadero 1000cc motorbike. The dealer was rather surprised, I think, as it's not the norm in Ireland that motorbikes are being sold to women and certainly not to women in their 50s.
So I picked up the bike last weekend and went for an extended spin. A fine bike with plenty of power. Being a fairly sensible biker, I took it easy as I have a healthy respect for the bike and what it's capable of.
And yesterday, I went for another spin as the weather was nice and sunny, perfect for a motorbike outing. We rode to the West Clare peninsula leading to Loop Head, a very windy spot with a light house surrounded by cliffs and the Atlantic. Nothing but water between here and America.
On the way back, we took a shortcut, a narrow country road of the kind you wouldn't call a road at all in some other countries. My husband was riding ahead on my scooter as his bikes are off the road at present and I followed. I didn't know the road well and had forgotten that there is a very nasty sharp blind bend going downhill. I entered the bend and was concentrating on manoeuvering the bike around it when I saw a car coming towards me. I swerved and got out of its way, but this car was followed immediately by a jeep. I knew I was going to hit the jeep unless I managed to get the bike out of its way quickly and in doing so, I toppled it over.
Next thing, I was lying on the ground with the bike on top of me trapping my left foot. 'This is it', I thought, 'my foot must be broken', as it was twisted at an angle and I couldn't move the bike off it. I was shouting for my husband to lift the bike, but he was down the road and had only just realised what had happened. The driver of the jeep stopped and came running towards me. He managed to lift the bike far enough for me to get my foot out from underneath it.
By then my husband had arrived and after getting me up on my feet, they put the bike in an upright position.
Strangely enough, I was able to stand and even walk. My motorcycle boots had protected my foot from injury.
However, I was badly shaken as this was the first time I had a near collision with a vehicle and the first time I dropped a heavy bike while riding it.
Still, after few minutes I got back on it and rode it home.
After examining myself, I discovered that I merely had a few bruises but was otherwise uninjured. But the effects on my psyche were a lot worse than my bruises.
I told myself (and my husband) off for riding on such a narrow single track road with a bike that I hadn't yet fully mastered.
I started getting feelings of self-doubt asking myself if I'd been too ambitious in getting such a big bike at my age.
I wondered if I should've stuck to riding my scooter instead of getting a bike again.
Etc, etc.
Now more than 24 hours after the incident, I've started feeling more positive again. I talked to a friend of ours who teaches motorbiking and advanced driving and he gave me some sound advice. I was afraid that my mishap might prevent me from getting on the motorcycle again or that I might be terrified of narrow bends etc.
However, I think with practice and patience, I will be able to get back on track and hopefully enjoy many more fantastic motorbike outings here in Ireland and abroad.

06 May 2010

I'm qualified :)

I've just been notified that I passed my exams and that I'm now a fully qualifired Gym & Fitness Instructor. Don't have my actual results as yet, but as I've passed, I'll be allowed to work as an instructor and get the necessary insurance.
Getting something off the groud will be difficult in the current economic climate in Ireland, but I'll be advertising and hope to get some clients either for personal training or to do fitness classes for mature adults.

20 April 2010

More crazy Meerkats...

And here are more of your crazy meerkats. I reckon "Compare the meerkat.com" and "simples" are going to become catchphrases, certainly in the UK and Ireland:

And here we have an official bloopers video:

And the finished product:

And then we have the epic story of the heroic meerkats:

You've got to admit, these adverts are among the best one around at present.
And for a laugh, why not log on to http://www.comparethemeerkat.com. It exists!

This is sad!

Whatever next...

Women to blame for earthquakes, says Iran cleric

Just when you thought thinks couldn't get any worse: now women are blamed for earthquakes!

A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.

Iran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair. "What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?" Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon last week. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes."
Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/19/women-blame...leric

16 January 2010

The Power of TV Commercials or how Adverts change the English Language

Well, I'm not going to write a dissertation on the subject here, don't worry. Just a few examples on how TV Commercials coin new catchphrases.
I'm only talking about UK commercials here as we see a lot of them in Ireland by watching UK channels on Sky.
One of the best known catchphrases would be "Should've gone to Specsavers" by the UK based chain of opticians. Everybody in the UK and Ireland appears to be familiar with this catchphrase. Here is an example of one of their ads using the well-known children's TV character Pat the Postman:

My current favourite has to be the series of ads for comparethemarket.com. I love these meerkats and am always trying to get the sound they make at the end just right ;) "Simples" is certainly becoming a new catchphrase fast, at least in myhouse... As these commercials are sooo funny, I will show you 2 of them:

And last but not least, here's McDonalds. Not enough with being partially responsible for child obesity in the Western World, McDonalds have also created an easy to remember slogan "I'm loving it". Very clever advertisining on their part:

More will be added as I think of them, so check back here often.

04 January 2010

Does this make me a Mama gamer?

This is a continuation of yesterday's post with a link to my daughter's blog.
As mentioned before, I still enjoy computer games and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Didn't I even read somewhere that gaming is good for you as a stress busting pastime?
As my daughter mentioned in her blog, I started playing games when I purchased a Sega Mega Drive in the early 90s. No, tell a lie, the first computer game I ever played was a demo version of Prince of Persia in 1989 or 1990. Someone gave me a copy of it on floppy disc and I played it, sneakily, when I wasn't busy at work. I used a word processor at work but didn't have a PC at home in those days. The game was in black and white back then and it fascinated me no end. Got my adrenalin going too as it was a very exciting game for someone who'd never played a computer game before.
Next was the Sega Mega Drive. The reason I bought it was that I had fallen into the awful habit of playing fruit machines (slot machines) in London and in Kent where I owned a holiday caravan at the time. Anybody who has ever played fruit machines will know how addictive these contraptions can be. I simply couldn't afford to waste my hard earned money this way. During that same period, I also enjoyed the odd arcade game. So I decided to buy a Sega Mega Drive and "wean" myself off the fruit machines. - It worked! I haven't played a fruit machine in nearly 20 years.
I bought Mega Drive games when I could afford to, games like Sonic I and II, Streets of Rage, Fantastic Dizzy (was that the name of that egg going on quests and adventures?), Sonic Spinball, Ecco The Dolphin and many more. One game that was brilliant and was ahead of its time was Flashback, a RPG with great graphics and complicated moves but so difficult to play that you needed cheats to advance in some levels. And there were some strategy games like Mega Lo Mania, a game that I played until late into the night.
I suppose I stopped playing my Mega Drive Games when we got our first Windows PC in 1998. I then dicovered the amazing world of the internet and didn't regularly play any games except for the likes of Solitaire and other card games. Then I came across a demo of the first Age of Empires and I was hooked again. Bought the game and ended up buying several of the follow ups. I have to admit, I still play the AoE games now and again as I think they're fabulous. Tried to play similar games like Settlers and AoE clones, but I like none of them as much as the original games. I also played games like Theme Park, Theme Hospital etc., but I found that they drove me mad after a while.
Another series of games I enjoyed playing were Commando and it's sequels. I enjoyed the challenge of finding ways around crazy obstacles in these warzone games.
Then I discovered the massive online RPG Runescape which I played for at least 2 years on a regular basis. My daughter who had gone to university by then, played World of Warcraft which I never tried to play as our internet connection would have been too slow for it.
There have been lots of other games I haven't mentioned, but they would've mainly been games I didn't enjoy that much:
Prince of Persia for PC (lost some of the old excitement), a new Prince of Persia for PC (from the last few years) which has nothing to do with the old game.
Myst which I couldn't get the hang of and lots of other games that didn't grab my attention.
Some games I like, but they're slow moving and can be frustrating, games like Lost, the PC game.
I recently bought Alone in the Dark and Jade Empire (Special Edition) which I quite like as well.
My new laptop has a decent graphics card, so I should be able to play some of the fast new games if I get bored with the games I have.
Boy gamers, girl gamers, male and female gamers, where's the difference? If you have a competitive nature and you love a challenge, you can play any game you like. I'm not particularly keen on games with lots of gore, but that doesn't mean I'm happy to play cute pink "girlie" games. Playability, challenge and excitement is what matters to me when it comes to games.
Looks like I'm not gonna settle down in front of the telly with my knitting in the near future.

Girl Gamers or shall we call them Women Gamers?

My daughter has just written an interesting post for her new blog. As it's late at night, I won't comment on it right now but will just give you the link:


As she mentioned me in her post, I must admit that I still enjoy computer games. More on this later. Watch this space!