Dublin, day 2

06/28/08, 3:30pm

Awesome night. Eoin and Aoife are wonderful, talkative. Basically, you talked the night away. Had some beers. Learned about the differences between Irish and American weed culture. The Irish are appalled that Americans smoke straight green, that a bowl gets passed so quickly, and that Americans seldom bother to roll their joints with a filter. From what you’ve seen so far, resin and hash play a huge roll in the culture here, whereas you have seldom encountered it in the states. Guess Americans are stuck up about their weed. Reminds you of a time one of your buddies left a giant baggy of shake on a table during a party. Even though a bunch of randos were walking in and out of the door, probably looking for something to steal, the shake remained. Big Dan says that he’d seen a couple of them dive at the ziplock bag going, ‘Oh my god, look at all this… man, that’s some shitty weed,’ and then just walk off, completely disinterested. You later heard from a guy here that the powdery bits and stems are the ‘best part!’, but you’re pretty sure the kid was disillusioned.

After a few beers at the apartment, Eoin took you to a bar in the city for a pint of Oyster, which is dark, bitter, and smokey–not the best you’ve had, but damn good. Ordered another round. You and Eoin got pretty deep into it the first night, skipping the bullshit and diving right into some intensely mind-bending conversation about the substance of natural laws being nothing greater than a faith-based argument, since our evidence of those natural laws is completely a posteriori; fundamentally, scientific empiricism falls short. After that, you followed him out for a smoke and swapped some good rave stories. Guess you got all the pretentious formalities out of the way fast. He threw a couple compliments your way, which is always welcome, and you headed back home. Along the way, the two of you found some scaffolding over the sidewalk, jumped up, and had a bit of a monkey-bars race to the end of the block.

The next morning, you woke up at 2pm. It was desperately needed sleep. It is raining steadily right now, but you layered up and went for a walking tour out of one of Eoin’s guide books. Met Eoin for coffee. Amazing is the only word you can use to describe your first cup of coffee here. It was like… 3 shots of esspresso with an ounce of water on top.

By the way, looks like you are making dinner tonight.

8:00pm > Sitting in a theater about to watch Riverdance live. How cliche can you get? But, too good to pass up. Anyway, you walked around the main shopping district today. Very colorful. Endless streets and alleyways. On your way back home to shop for dinner, you passed an exhibition called Technothreads. It was like the fashion industry of the future. Bioshirts made from your own recycled skin cells–this teeny doll-sized shirt that was literally ‘growing’ day to day, and would inevitably grow to fit a small dog in a month; shirts made out of the skin that develops on bad wine and bad Guinness, which is slippery when wet, and crunchy and brittle when dry. But, both shirts were supposed to be explamples of sustainable clothing production, apparently. Like the jackass you are, you grilled the poor little student volunteer about the functional application of the wine and Guinness shirts, asking why anyone would continue to fund a project like this when it doens’t appear to promise anything useful to the mainstream fashion industry, and pales in comparision to the other exhibits at Technothreads. Furthermore, you commented on the weird implication of the recylcled skin cell shirt–that we were somehow imitating reptiles in the shedding of our skin–but then re-wearing it! Oh, and then there was this other shirt that ‘responds’ to sounds of agression by moving in ways analagous to an animal raising its hackles; and the counterpart shirt reacts in a ‘submissive’ manner. The implication is that someday people might learn to resolve their disputes with expressive clothing, rather than violence and war. Right…

So after that, you got caught up in another place called Educo Gym, which looked like a supplement supply shop from the outside. You couldn’t help by waltz in and speak directly to the manager about the facility. He had this god-awful before-and-after poster of himself in a speedo, right behind the counter, showing what the Educo Gym (franchise) methods had done for him. To his credit, he made changes, but I wasn’t convinced.

Turns out there isn’t really a strong fitness industry in Ireland. There are no big chains of gyms, no all-access networks, no facilities that resemble the atmosphere of American fitness centers. Educo Gym is a tiny facilty that sells personal training packages ONLY, along with detailed information on nutrition (which invariably leads to endless incentives to buy all their supplements). The training sessions are about 20 minutes long, and very intensive. What makes it intensive? Wasn’t sure, so you asked him if you could take a peek upstairs and look at the equipment he was working with. You were shocked and appalled by the room that was no bigger than a bedroom, with a universal cam/weight-stack machine in the center of it. No free weights, no bungees, no balancing pads… nothing but cam machines. Their prinicple of training is highly focused isolation lifting, and that’s it. Lifting and supplements. I was out the door in a minute.

Made a budget dinner (13 euro) for yourself, Eoin, and Aoife. Aoife offered you a ticket to see Jay Z. You found Riverdance to be a more exciting prospect.

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