US Things I Miss

So, I’ve been back in Ireland for several weeks now. How goes the culture shock? Well, let’s make a list of the stuff I’m missing from California:

  • C, who’s still back there finishing up her contract. Hurry up, C!

  • All my friends I left behind in the US :( Come visit!

  • The weather (well duh)

  • Trader Joes: low-cost, high-quality organic and near-organic food

  • The excellent Mexican and Southern food. Mmm, Taco Mesa

  • Super-cheap cocktails — although having good Guinness makes up for a lot of this

  • The back country — desert, mountains, snow, national parks. Ireland may have more surviving history dotted about, but it’s just flat. I miss the mountains

  • Netflix — haven’t spotted a replacement for this yet. There are companies in Ireland that use a similar idea, but it appears every one just about manages to screw it up and render it useless, generally by introducing throttling, late fees, or slow turnaround. meh

  • The way my Irish accent meant I could get away with pretty much anything. That trick doesn’t work in Ireland ;)

In other news: the broadband choices situation has pretty much gone to shit.

It turns out that all the good options are quite dependent on local-loop unbundling, which — somehow — still hasn’t gotten around to my local exchange. As a result, guess who’s going to be stuck on the wrong end of dialup, no less, for “2 to 3 weeks” until Eircom deign to switch on the bitstream access for my new BT-resold ADSL connection? Here’s hoping there’s a neighbour with broadband and wifi when I move back in. Joy.

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  1. ben
    Posted March 7, 2006 at 19:51 | Permalink

    You poor, deluded soul. There have got to be places in Dublin better and more authentic than Taco Mesa. Maybe even on Craggy Island.

  2. Posted March 7, 2006 at 20:49 | Permalink

    The weather (well duh)

    If it’s any consolation, it’s been raining here at least once a week. And there was the brush fire that filled th sky with smoke for a few days (though I think that might have been before you left).

    On a more serious note, thanks for the shift in perspective on the Southern California landscape. With all the new housing developments taking over former fields and creeping up into the hills, it’s easy to fall into thinking of the area as endless suburbia. But there are mostly-undeveloped hills still visible from most of Orange County, and it’s just a few hours’ drive to the deserts and mountains. It’s been a long time since I went camping or hiking on a regular basis. I should change that.

  3. Posted March 7, 2006 at 21:22 | Permalink

    Would you consider DVD to be the equivalent of Netflix?

    I’ve never used them, but I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion. I’ve heard Netflix have some interesting features

  4. Posted March 7, 2006 at 21:25 | Permalink

    The way my Irish accent meant I could get away with pretty much anything. That trick doesn’t work in Ireland ;)

    You just need to practice that American accent you “picked up” while living over here.

    PS I copy/pasted your curly-quote apostrophe in “doesn’t” in the above, and it looks like wp mangled the UTF. I then replaced it with a regular single-quote apostrophe and now it looks OK. I suspect non-latin1 is getting munged somehow.

  5. Posted March 7, 2006 at 22:17 | Permalink

    Ben — Taco Mesa is fantastic! Obviously you’re thinking this is some horrible El Torito chain place — you have no idea.

    Conall — DVDRentals is close. But what I’ve heard is that they take longer than 3 days to turn around the DVDs, which can kill the service’s usefulness in one fell swoop. God, their website is awful too. ;) But it actually looks more useful than I thought, so I’ll try it out I think.

    Craig — an american accent doesn’t really help in Ireland. Well, it might help hitch the bill up by 20 euros, I suppose ;)

  6. Posted March 8, 2006 at 01:05 | Permalink

    Also bear in mind that the Irish postal system is involved. I’ve been finding things appear recently I was expecting up to 3 months ago…

    The Netflix site isn’t supposed to be wonderful either, hence things like Netflix Freak exist. I’m sure you could hack something together for DVDRentals, if you were bored enough… ;)

  7. Posted March 8, 2006 at 05:17 | Permalink

    Glad you mentioned Trader Joe’s, which is where I shop for pretty much all my groceries. Taco Mesa? Never heard of it, but I only lived up in OC for a few months, so when I visit my parents again I’ll try to check it out. Surprised you didn’t mentioned the beaches, especially the ones that aren’t overpopulated with teeny-boppers. At any rate, I bet you don’t miss the traffic ;-)

  8. donal
    Posted March 8, 2006 at 10:21 | Permalink

    just so you know eircom’s broadband can come on earlier than they say. mine was switched on 10 days before they said it would.


  9. Posted March 12, 2006 at 14:49 | Permalink

    So why does it take Eircom so long to “switch on” broadband for your phone line? I was looking into getting broadband into my temporary flat recently, and that was the one thing that stumped me. And the call-centre lads had no explanation for it either. Any clues?

    Cheers Avril

  10. Posted March 12, 2006 at 16:51 | Permalink

    Avril, I don’t know, but given what I do know about Eircom I’m sure the union is involved ;)

  11. Posted March 18, 2006 at 02:23 | Permalink

    I’m fond of Trader Joe’s myself. They have a couple of stores in the Seattle area. Great place to buy several pounds of chocolate “because it’s gourmet chocolate!”