Friday, August 24, 2012

Probably the best rock song in the world...?

From first year discos to the day after I got accepted to college, this song never fails to make my heart rate speed up a little bit. I heard it around earlier today -- I have loved Appetite for Destruction since first year. That's an achievement, especially when you consider that

  • I have never listened to anything by them that isn't on this album
  • I like no other bands remotely like G'n'R
  • I was in first year SIX YEARS ago
It's ever so perfect: as perfect as a song that isn't by The Beatles gets, to be honest. Plus, 80s Axl Rose is hot and I still have a soft spot for solos. So go on, enjoy the six-minute magic of classic rock'n' rooooooooooooooooolllllll, brother!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The final.

So I've been blogging about the Leaving Cert. on and off for the past year. Mostly off. Delighted to have the exams finished, by June I was ready to forget about everything and have some fun...which I did. Since my exams finished, I've been out a few times, saw a lot of Dave and volunteered at Castlepalooza music festival. In short: I had a really great summer. I'll probably post more about it sometime.

Me, Danielle, Conor and Hazel at Castlepalooza, in one of the rare moments of sunshine!

That didn't mean that I forgot about the results, though. They were always there in the back of my head -- one month, three weeks, two weeks -- and bang! Suddenly it was August 15th and I was awake and freaking out at 3am. All the post-its I'd used adding up 100s, 85s and 70s were worthless and now all I could do was wait and see. The scariest thing about the results for me wasn't not knowing -- it was knwoing that I couldn't change them, that I was stuck with whatever results I got. By Wednesday, I was convinced that I'd maybe scrape 500 and would never get to run through Trinity College, screaming like a little girl.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6.30am, showered, drank copious amounts of green tea and then went down to the school with my parents. On recieving the envelope, I walked around for a moment or two, shaking like a leaf. The enormity of my Leaving Cert. results hit me then, I think -- not the best time! Eventually I opened the results and immediately zoned in on grade #1: a B2. This was immediately followed by a mental "SWEET JESUS FUCKING CHRIST HOW BAD WILL THESE BE IF I ONLY MANAGED A B2 IN ENGLISH?!" before realizing that the B2 was in Irish. Higher. Level. Irish. My year was spent crying over essays and being asked if I was dyslexic by my teacher and I came out with a B2! Fortunately, that bode well for my results in general...

Fucking ridiculous, aren't they?! I was particularly pleased about the A1 in Ag. Science, a course I did in a year. For those unaware of the system, these grades add up to 570 points -- out of 600! This means that this morning I received my offer from Trinity College -- I get to study English and History for the next four years! The wait for the offer was weird -- I wasn't too stressed about the points until last night. It hit me while cruising at 2am...thankfully I only had four hours to wait then, and it was wonderful when I woke up to my course this morning.

 I realize that the amount of exclamation marks in this post is unbelievable, but I've had a wonderful week. Well, apart from a mild case of the mumps and sticking my phone into a glass of water, but that's another story...I realize that this is the part where I should get all reflective about results, the Leaving Cert., and where, to paraphrase Axl Rose, we go from here. The thing is, though, that I don't WANT to think about 6th year anymore! It's all I thought about last year - as I said, I didn't really st back. I worked damn hard for those points, but to be honest, I'm over it now. I want to start college, move on, join a load of societies and be told how bad I am at things. I'm ready. And by God, am I excited!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mon the Katie: 5 reasons why Katie Taylor is totally rad.

I realize the internet will be full of people lauding Katie Taylor over the next few days, and hell, she deserves every single word of it. I'll admit straight off that I haven't been following the Olympics much -- outside of Taylor, I haven't had a lot of interest to be honest. But Katie makes me want to follow all the Olympians for the rest of their lives, even though I know next to nothing about a) sport and b) following people. By god, watching her fight tonight was something else.  She. Is. Incredible. She's a hero. Why? Well, without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons. (My runner ups are that she has a great accent, her dad is her coach, she's hot and she did honours maths for her Leaving Cert., just FYI.)

1. She campaigned for women to fight in the Olympics.
Did you know that women's boxing wasn't an Olympic sport until this year? It was news to me, too, but not only was it not a sport, it was turned down by the Games in 2008. Katie Taylor proceeded to campaign to have the sport included this year, and she succeeded! She's part of the reason women's boxing is in the Olympics this year! That's a massive achievement in itself, but then she just came along and won the gold medal. Maybe that's why she won - imagine having to fight the woman who was the reason you were fighting in the first place. Intense, huh? As both an Irish person and a feminism-y person, that makes me so proud of her.
This photo is literally infinite badass.

2. She's an amazing boxer.
What I said up there about Taylor winning because of her reputation - I seriously doubt it. Taylor won a gold medal this evening because she is an incredible boxer. I did six years of kickboxing, so I know a little bit about boxing - I wanted to take it up, but alas, my mum's fear of broken bones availed. It doesn't take much to realize that Taylor is a force of nature, though. Her footwork makes her look like she's floating above the ground as she fights. Her punches - to quote my mum - could be felt here in Ireland. Her intensity and ferocity as an athlete make her absolutely spellbinding to watch, regardless of how interested one is in sport., or boxing. She makes me want to find my pink boxing gloves and start all over.


3. She's Irish.
I know, I know...I moonlight as Captain Obvious. But as Ellen said in her post, Ireland aren't great at sport. Except when we're on drugs a la Michelle Smith. But Taylor is the real deal - she's been boxing since she was twelve and not a soul on Earth would accuse her of doping. She's from a country that has less medals than Michael Phelps does. That's what makes us so proud of her. She's doing it for the little country filled with saints and scholars. She's put us on the Olympic map, if you will. I know I'm probably exaggerating a little, but I do think she's one of the greatest atheletes the country has ever seen. Over the past few days, I've seen a couple of British media gobshites refer to her as "British" when she's anything but. Her photos with the tricolour, her Green jacket and her thick Bray accent mean that she could never belong to anyone but us. And that makes me want to go out and learn the words to Amhrán na Bhfiann. 
Fuck you, Telegraph. Obligatory remark about the six counties.

4. Her faith.
I think we've all noticed how Katie thanks god after every fight in interviews. People give out about it, people think it's weird: I think it's pretty fucking cool that someone so tough, so clever and so awesome has all that faith. I'm not remotely religious and never really have been, but I admire how strong her Christian beliefs are. Looking up at the sky and blowing kisses after a fight - Taylor obviously has deep, deep faith in a higher power and doesn't seem to give a shit what people think of that. I heard lately that she "put her life in God's hands" and if she didn't win a gold medal "then he had other plans for her". You have to admire the strength of that, regardless of your own beliefs. Though I am terribly appreciative that God decided Gold was the way to go. 

5. She's a woman.
Let my inner feminist have this one. Katie Taylor was a year old when Joyce Carol Oates, a famous writer, said that boxing is "for men, and is about men, and is men." She  went as far as to call it "the obverse of the feminine." When we think of boxing, we think of Rocky, Muhammad Ali and other big strong men. We rarely think of big (or little) strong women, and Taylor is changing that almost singlehandedly, which I hugely admire her for.  This is the first year all countries in the Olympics have been represented by a woman, and the first time women's boxing has been part of the Games. Taylor is undoubtedly playing a huge role in breaking down gender stereotypes in sport, and on a world stage, too. Can you imagine how many little girls will want to take up boxing now? How COOL is that? And furthermore, can you imagine how many people will ask these little girls to make them a sandwich? 
Very few, that's who.

The woman, the myth, the legend that is Katie Taylor. She's my new hero.