#inktober2018 efforts for #guarded and #spell #inktobertipperary

#inktober2018 efforts for #guarded and #spell #inktobertipperary

The whole point of #Inktober is to draw and share … which I have failed to do a) by not keeping up and b) by being not very good at drawing. Still, if something is worth doing it is worth doing badly… here are a couple of efforts:


#Inktober2018 Day 1: “Poisonous”

It is Inktober once again. I am a little late getting started and may skip the step of sharing my inky efforts on social media… however as ever there are many many fine inkers out there whose work deserves highlighting.

Following the “official” prompt list is not mandatory… although I found last year that it added a certain structure and inspired rather than limited creativity. Here I intend sharing some picture by others from Twitter (not really an Instagram person) on each daily theme.






Clonmel Applefest Sept 28-30 2018

Clonmel Applefest Sept 28-30 2018

Clonmel Apple Fest is here.

Clonmel Applefest is a brand new festival which aims to celebrate the unique ‘sense of place’ emanating from Clonmel’s special location and mix of industrial and agricultural activities and heritage. We aim to involve all strata of Clonmel society from local businesses and heritage enthusiasts to families and visitors to the town by celebrating what is most genuine and authentic about Tipperary’s ‘vernacular’ culture and heritage. By developing a network of champions and a community of supporters from a wide range of backgrounds, we plan to develop a truly original and special festival that reflects the multi-layered histories of the county and Clonmel in particular.

Living in Clonmel a few years now, it is heartening to see this development. Ireland tends not to be great at celebrating industrial heritage, and the apple industry (and cider industry) locally connects industrial heritage to the wider environment.

There a wide range of activities On Sunday there is the Vale of Honey Community Day:

Join us in the ‘Quaker Quarter’ of Clonmel for a community, heritage and nature day with walks, biodiversity and pollinators’ activities & stands, river information stands, boating and angling demonstrations, recycling info and workshops, a working forge and an extensive programme of community performances showcasing Clonmel’s best dance and music talents. Picnic tables, a pig on a spit and other delicious foods to celebrate the harvest season will be on hand to make this a memorable community street feast. Get a discount when you purchase food and drink if you bring your own cutlery, plate and/or reusable cup!

WALKS: leaving from the New Quay car park, free entry (Walks will last approx 90 mins), free– Pollinator walk with Emma Reeves @ 11 am
Discover what plants are good for bees with a expert in the field

– Quaker walk with Michael Ahearne @ 12noon
Discover some of the key quaker buildings associated with the industrial development of Clonmel

– Free Salsadance Class with Yulia. 11am. Try out Salsa dancing for some fun and sociable exercise!

– Community Performance showcase: 12-3pm, New Quay car parkPerformances by a selection of dance, drama and musical schools and groups from Clonmel and surrounding area.– Start together arts and cultural expo: 12-3pm

– Pig on the Spit: 1-3pm: € 12,
Fresh from the spit, includes a selection of salads and a cup of apple juice. Bring your own plate and cup and get a discount!

– Pooh Corner, 3-5pm, Abbey street: a last chance to catch Pooh and his friends in case you missed it!

Here’s a post from a while back on a particular Tipperary Apple product:

In Praise of Mulled Apple & Blackcurrant Juice from The Apple Farm of Tipperary

And here is my own apple tree. It’s a bit bigger now…:

 Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree…



What is the worst chess move? – with Gregory Serper

I am unsure if I am worse at chess or at drawing but I enjoy both. Chess.com is a wonderful resource for online play and also for learning. I am afraid I have been lazy at developing my actual play by studying the various resources on the site over the last few years, but overall I have learned a lot.

I always enjoy the columns by GM Gregory Serper . Indeed, I previously posted this, based on one of his articles. He is witty, easy to follow, and vastly experienced as a player and teacher. And chess.com now have very easy to use in-article puzzle boards (don’t know if this is the right term) – so articles like this one are painlessly interactive.

Serper considers what is the worst chess move? Not only the worst opening move, or the worst move in a particular opening sequence, but the worst move tout court. It turns out more than a few of the greatest players of all time have played it – so there is no shame in joining their ranks.

Years ago I visited Russia and, while I didn’t learn Russian (much), I did learn Cyrillic script, which made Russian much less inaccessible and things in general much easier. It is worth the effort if you, like me a few years ago, know how to play chess but find chess notation off-putting, to make the (fairly small) investment of time and mental energy in getting some familiarity with it, as it makes things even easier. Anyway, here is the opening of Serper’s piece:

Chess openings have been analyzed for centuries and yet even today it is still not easy to identify the best and worst first moves. According to Fischer, 1.e4 is “best by test.”

From the other side, when the famous theoretician GM Ernst Gruenfeld was asked why he always started the game with his queen pawn, he answered that he would never make a mistake on the very first move! Statistics from the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship seem to agree with Gruenfeld; through the tournament’s first half, 1. d4 scored 61.2 percent for White, compared to 52.9 percent for 1.e4.

It is probably easier to call the worst first move. According to GM Edmar Mednis it is 1.f3 (called Barnes Opening). Nevertheless, even here we can argue that 1.h4 or 1.Nh3 are probably as bad.

The topic of today’s discussion is different. I am trying to find the worst possible move in chess in general, not just the first move of the game.









A family holiday with David Mamet

David Mamet’s reputation seems to have taken a bit of a nosedive in recent years. His “coming out” as an unapologetic free market conservative may have something to do with this. I have always had somewhat mixed feelings about what I have seen of Mamet – which in my case is exclusively cinematic, specifically Glengarry Glen Ross (of course) and State & Main. While both are interesting (no more damning phrase!), and Glengarry Glen Ross is highly powerful in its depiction of a certain kind of desperate male brutality, I must admit to finding both a little too mannered and stylised.


However, one of the things I like about Mamet is the sudden, rather unexpected touches. Indeed, his recent public political conservative leanings mark him out quite starkly from his peers. Aside from this, there always has seemed a strain rather counter to what we expect from “Mamet” the public figure, as opposed to Mamet the actual person.

From a 1994 New York Times profile of David Mamet:

YOU may not think of David Mamet, the prolific author of angrified and angrifying plays and films, as an insecure fellow. But there was a day not so long ago, he says, that in an agonizing fit of self-doubt, he sought out his wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, an actress and singer, and in a sort of desperate way, proclaimed his consuming love for her. What, he asked, could have persuaded her to marry him, save him from himself, miserable wretch that he obviously was?

“She looked at me,” Mr. Mamet says, shifting his mimicry from his own earnest pleading to his wife’s deadpan. “And she said, ‘Well, I don’t know, you seemed like a nice guy.’ ”

It’s a funny story for Mr. Mamet to tell on himself, a twinkly-eyed acknowledgment of his reputation as difficult, thorny and impatient. But then, you might not think of Mr. Mamet, a native Chicagoan, as a homebody either, or as a lover of quietude, isolation and coziness. And that’s what comes across here. The center of his universe is a lonely hilltop farmhouse that he shares with Ms. Pidgeon, his wife of three years, and their tiny daughter, Clara, who was born on Sept. 29.


Mamet’s prose is clear and limpid and one cannot accuse him of obfuscation. Recently I came across a Picador anthology, Worst Journeys from 1991. Edited by Keith Fraser, it has a Canadian tilt. It’s quite a mixed bag, but I enjoyed Mamet’s piece on a family holiday. And like the above NYT profile, it has passages that seem quite un-Mametlike, if all you know of Mamet is Glengarry Glen Ross:

I thought: we are an Urban people, and the Urban solution to most any problem is to do more: to find something new to eat in order to lose weight; to add a sound in order to relax to upgrade your living arrangements in order to be comfortable, to buy more, to eat more, to do more business. Here, on the island, we had nothing to do. Everything had been taken away but the purely natural.

We got tired as the sun went down, and active when it rose; we were treated to the rhythm of the surf all day; the heat and salt renewed our bodies.

We found that rather than achieving peace by the addition of a new idea (quality time, marital togetherness, responsibility), we naturally removed the noise and distractions of a too-busy life, and so had no need of a new idea. We found that a more basic idea sufficed: the unity of the family.


It seems a little churlish to point out that family whose unity Mamet is extolling is in fact a prior one to the NY Times profile above – and in any case the point about the modern drive to do more and more, even turning doing less into doing more, still stands.

#Inktober is coming…

#Inktober is coming…

Last year I participated in #Inktober. This is a month-long drawing challenge devised by Jake Parker. Here is the description from the Inktober site:

Q: What is Inktober?
A: Inktober is a month long art challenge created by artist Jake Parker that is focused on improving skill and developing positive drawing habits. Every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online. Remember to use the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2018 if you want your art to be seen by everyone.

Q. When is Inktober?
A: Inktober is every October. Post your first Inktober drawing on October 1st and your last on October 31st.

Q: Where is Inktober?
A: There is no official location or convention for Inktober. Wherever you live and create is where Inktober is.

My only art qualification is a ‘D’ in Junior Cert Art. I would have seen myself as a bad draughtsman all my life. I still do, but now enjoy doing my best. Drawing also gives one an insight into the world around. For instance a while back I did some pencil sketching at the Rock of Cashel and saw details I had always missed before. Tristan Gooley writes of how artists see things in a landscape few others do, and again without claiming any expertise I have found this to be true.

Inktober also led me to discover artists like Susan Alman and Mark Chilcott

Here is the official 2018 prompt list (you don’t have to follow it, but I do find it gives a structure and a challenge)


Joseph Haydn’s “Horseman” string quartet in G minor Op. 74 No. 3


youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8rdK0XpJoA&w=560&h=315%5D

According to Misha Donat’s notes for the Saloman Quarter release of this quartet:

The most famous among Haydn’s six quartets of 1793 is the last, in G minor, whose ‘bouncing’ finale theme has given rise to its nickname of the ‘Rider’.

In German it is the Reiterquarttet, and the nickname “Horseman” is also used. And from the opening bars of the first movement there is a “bouncing”, equestrian quality.

Here is the Kódaly Quartet: playing the First Movement:

This quartet doesn’t make it onto Wikipedia’s page of “program music” i.e. classical music that aspires to explicit representation. Of course, this is a somewhat confused concept in any case. Hayden’s symphonies famously have nicknames, some of which refer to musical features (such as the “Surprise” symphony, which is perhaps not quite the surprise intended if you know its coming) rather than programmatic features.