30 March 2011

Ireland v. Uruguay: No Suarez But Uruguay Still Entertain

Right number, wrong person. Cavani scored a goal nevertheless.

Yes, Luis Suarez wasn't going to be involved in the mid-week international friendly between Ireland and Uruguay last night but we managed to get our hands on cheap tickets (thanks Dan!) and that alone made the match worth watching. Something the FAI conveniently chose to ignore when initially pricing Ireland's football matches. Nothing worse than a half empty, spanking new stadium so, it was good to know that they've now decided to scrap the mindless match bundling ticket arrangements and lower prices a wee bit.

Thankfully, the quality of entertainment on the pitch and even off it (the crowds constantly messing with the stewards for custody over the match balls) was just about enough to make up for the low attendance. Uruguay didn't disappoint as they fielded their First XI (minus the recuperating Suarez) which starred in their semi-final appearance in the recent World Cup. And, the quality was evident. It was there for all to see why they made it to the final four. The final 3-2 scoreline is certainly deceiving since Uruguay clearly took their feet off the pedal after scoring their third goal.

In fairness to Ireland, Trapattoni did field a largely young squad and one would certainly need the help of the match program to name the starting XI. Young or old, the Irish players certainly put in the effort and were rewarded with two goals - the first from simply effective open play while the second came from some hard work which eventually led to a penalty. It would only do the young players good to be playing against quality opposition such as Uruguay and previously, Argentina.

Oh, and this dude certainly made himself useful.

28 March 2011

Vespa PX: Italian Blend

Having rushed back from the little boys' room, I headed straight into the supermarket and inspected every single aisle until I found my wife and kids. Well, sort of. The three human beings in front of me looked to me like some sort of amazing circus act. There was my 4 year-old son jumping up and down - in what seemed like a cross between a kid throwing a tantrum while at the same time, attempting to juggle a couple of Kinder Surprise eggs to grab his mom's attention.

My other son, standing (or was it sitting?) on his pushchair, was doing a Harry Houdini impression with half of his body still strapped down while the other was clambering trying to grab either his mother or something on the top of the pushchair. My wife who had only minutes earlier, refused my offer of a trolley or a shopping basket was playing a deadly balancing act of keeping all the groceries (and our son) on a pushchair that had a tendency of tipping over at the first sign of incorrectly placed weight.

Well...? Are you just going to stand there?

Huh? Oh...

The show was abruptly ended when my wife noticed that I was just standing in front of her and the boys without making myself useful. Like some sort of telepathic connection between my wife and I (or was it her burning stare?), I understood and immediately grabbed the grocery bag just in time to save it from tipping over the pushchair.

We're out of coffee. How 'bout we try something different?

I nodded in agreement. I've had enough of the awful instant coffee that we've been drinking for a while now and so, didn't mind a change. I scanned the shelves for anything interesting but they all looked the same to me. Decaf. Fairtrade. Organic. Java. Arabica. It was like a map of the world only in shades of fluorescent green, turqoise, chocolate and silver. Hmmm...decisions, decisions.

OK, I've got two here. You choose and don't go with that one just because it has a Vespa on it.

What the...Vespa? I looked at the two bags of coffee my wife was holding up. Both were packaged in red but one had a Vespa PX proudly printed on it. I pretended to read the descriptions on both packages but inside, I was like an 8 year-old girl asked to choose between a pack of Justin Bieber-themed cereal and boring muesli that tastes more like bird feed.

Let's try this one...it sounds like it tastes...errr...different!

I pointed to the Caffè Italiano obviously, not influenced whatsoever by the Vespa on the package. My wife smiled and put the other pack of coffee back on the shelf but via her "telepathic" skills I knew that my shallow gamble would cost me if the thing ended-up tasting like dried carbon, grease and two-stroke oil.

26 March 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Apple TV

Things were a lot simpler when I was a kid. I loved playing with my Lego and it was as simple as it could gt back then. The Lego dude in the black armour with the mean looking red dragons on its chest and shield was the baddie. The dude in the shining silver (well, actually grey) armour with golden lions on the breastplate and shield was obviously the good guy. Everything and everyone had its role or place.

So, on returning home last summer, I was delighted to discover that my mother had carefully stored away my Lego collection and was even more delighted to see my kids enjoying playing with them. My son was so impressed with his Daddy's 80's (and even some 90's) Lego that he even talks about it to this day even though I've bought him a couple of his own Lego sets. It must be the simplicity of it all. The good guys were clearly the good guys and the bad guys not only looked bad, they were clearly bad-ass.

These days, it's actually quite tough to explain things to kids. Wanting to immerse my kids in the world of Star Wars, I had planned to start from where Mr. Lucas himself intended the saga to start - from the newer Episode I but, after giving it some thought I decided on not doing so. I could only imagine WTF?!? expressions on my kids faces when I try to explain the issues going through a teenage Anakin's mind. Skywalker Senior's clearly one confused dude and his one minute good, one minute bad character and actions would certainly be too much for little children to process so, I stuck with little goody-two-shoes Luke's story first. They can watch Episodes I to III when they're bigger. Plus, I'm doing them a favour anyway by keeping them from the ultra-annoying Jar Jar Binks for as long as possible.

The same goes with cartoons on the telly these days. The good thing is there are gadgets like the Apple TV around. Having bought the thing so that I can enjoy movies in the comfort of my own home while saving a trip to the video rental store, I was pleasantly surprised by how addictive YouTube can be when viewed through the Apple device.

Not wanting to turn my YouTube watching time with the kids into a Barney fest of non-rhyming and annoying songs, I used the good experience with the Lego and thought of the cartoons that I used to watch when I was a kid. He-Man seems to be a hit with the kids and like the Lego, it was also so simple. More of the same please...

24 March 2011

I Fought the Law

Have been extremely busy at work for the past few days. It's been a while since I've had to use this much of my grey matter at work and it has sapped a good bit of energy from me. So, armed with mobile in hand, I made the picture above. Now, where did I put Darth Vader and that Stormtrooper...?

22 March 2011

Leather Gloves Time

Yes, it looks like the good weather's back. I noticed it on the weekend when I realised that it was too warm to wear my regular winter gloves. I was heading out to get some regular maintenance done on the Vespa as I starting to get worried about the scooter's handling.

At first, I thought it was just the wet and frosty roads that was affecting the Vespa's ride but with the recent warmer and drier weather, my theory was immediately thrown out the window. Basically on cornering, the rear wheel can only be described as "slippery" even when its been dry for days on end.

The blame then fell on the rear combo of SIP tubeless rim and previously punctured Heidenau K58 tyre. Various worst case scenarios included cracked rim (not surprising with the Road to Baghdad that's Phoenix Park's Chesterfield Avenue these days) and a botched puncture repair on the tyre. I didn't have a tyre pressure gauge handy (left the one I had at the office desk for some reason...) so, I popped out to the nearest garage. The tyre presure was fine and I was stumped.

My next theory would be the rear shock but considering I've no budget to have that changed to some "decent" Bitubo ones these days (bleeding car needing repairs to the tune of over €500 just last week), I'll settle for some unstable cornering or avoid bends and stay on the straight and narrow. Not too bad when the weather's as good as this. Long may it last...

20 March 2011

Red Light

It's so very typical isn't it? I stay glued to the telly (or in my case the laptop) for every minute of the match but, the few minutes that I was away from it, Liverpool get a goal via a fortunate penalty decision. Ah well, at least it was good news. I was back from collecting the kids from their weekend activities, in time for the start of the second half.

Yes, Liverpool did end up winning the match but it was just one of those matches where it's all very nervy and if the opposition get a goal, it could potentially even end up with three points lost. Indeed, it's probably more the after taste of the Braga game that's effecting my view on things . Thankfully, there was a ready-made cure for such pessimism - Luis Suarez's presence alone demanded that Liverpool keep the ball on the floor and play some decent football.

But whatever about the team's performance, Suarez's goal was just brilliant. Watching the odd La Liga or Serie A game, I've always wondered why strikers from the Continent and South America try for the near post (instead of pulling it back for the on running player or aiming for the far post by bending it around the keeper a la vintage Michael Owen) every time they're faced with the opposition keeper. Well, if there are any doubts about the approach, Suarez certainly showed why it's done the way it's done.

18 March 2011

Ali's Pain on Paddy's Day

I pity my next door neighbour. I really do pity him. When my Syrian neighbour and his wife moved in over a year ago, he was greeted by the sound of a grown man constantly shouting on weekends (and the odd weekday night) with loud banging noises being heard accompanying the shouts and screams of agony. Banging of floors, walls, doors or anything solid seemed to be the norm in the first few months after the move. Poor Ali, he must've thought that he'd moved in next to a mad house. But then, some time during the summer, it all stopped and for a long time there was peace and quiet which was occasionally broken by the odd groan or sigh. Just groans and sighs. Nothing as unbearable as the banging and shouts.

Unfortunately, on Thursday night, it all started again...

If Ali was to record and analyse the trend to his next door nuisance, he would've noticed that the shouting and banging coincided with Liverpool match fixtures. And, if Ali was to dig deeper and understand his neighbour's obsession, he would've noticed that the team that his neighbour supported had been abducted by aliens on Thursday night and had been replaced by Joe Kinnear's Wimbledon. Knowing this, he could have possibly silenced the shouts by explaining this to his Malaysian neighbour and calm him down a bit.

Yes, because talking some sense into his neighbour was probably the best Ali could do as there was nothing he or anyone else could do about the 11 men playing on the pitch at Anfield on Thursday night. Maybe there is some sort psychological explanation out there to it but, in simple terms, the Liverpool team on the night was clearly suffering from a severe case of Big Man Upfront disease. It had been a problem more recently during Peter Crouch's time at the club (although the man is clearly more comfortable with the ball at his feet rather than flying off his head) and became apparent again during the match against Braga. Players simply see a big head upfront like they see a huge, billboard-sized moving target and instinctively hoof the ball to said player without thinking twice.

The quick and solution to this disease? Introduce small man and big man would immediately have someone to make his efforts worthwhile. Sadly, to these untrained eyes, that didn't happen (OK, it did because Jay Spearing was introduced during the match but that's not the small man that I meant) and it ended with Liverpool being unceremoniously kicked out of the Europa League. 

On Friday morning, my first act of the day was to get on my laptop and cancel my application for the final match. Talk about being so close yet so far. 

16 March 2011

Vespa PX: Blackpitts

I was heading towards my usual spot for lunch when I turned back and took another look at my Vespa, just to make sure it was secure. I could have dragged out a decent lock and chain combo that was buried in my glovebox but a big plate of lamb biryani was about to get cold so, I quickly concluded that it was safe enough to leave it as is.

Other than that, I've nothing much else to report. I was going to do a write-up about Liverpool's return leg against Braga but I soon realised that I had my days mixed-up. That's going on tomorrow night (damn you Europa League and your Thursday nights!). I was going to complain that my scooter's rear wheel hasn't actually felt like the most stable thing on Earth after the last puncture but, considering other people are going through far worse situations (think earthquake, tsunamis and now snow), it all just seemed irrelevant.

The best of wishes to those affected in Japan and the Pacific. Hopefully, the worst of it is now over...

14 March 2011

The Irish Motorbike and Scooter Show 2011: The Rest

Having seen everything we could in the indoor exhibition area, we listened to our tummies grumbling and followed the smell of food to the outdoor exhibition area. Seeing that there was some more interesting things to see outside, we decided to walk around the place before satisfying our hunger.

All the standard fare was there. There was some Mini Moto racing going on (presumably for the kids?), the suicidal Wall of Death (an extra fiver which we opted not to do away with), a train how to do a wheelie thingy and my personal favourite, the Evel Knievel exhibition. Having ignored the growing crowd near the dirt track, we realised that we had missed Mai-Lin a top female streetstyle stunt rider. Not wanting to miss out on the next show, we decided to hang around the place for whatever came up next.

Our perseverance was in a way, paid off as some motorbike drag racing was up next. I knew it wasn't going to get comfortable when even hardened old bikers stuffed earplugs into their ears. It was definitely a first for me and like watching a game a cricket, I came away thinking I enjoyed the whole spectacle but never fully understanding the point to the whole thing. Ah well. We decided there was no better way to get rid of the smell of exhaust fumes and burnt rubber that lingered in our mouths than some greasy chips.

After some very sticky cheese fries, we headed out and right there parked amongst all the anabolic steroid pumped equivalent of bikes in chrome and carbon fibre, I noticed this old metal and mostly plastic thing. Arguably, the greatest one of them all (bar the Vespa, of course) and Asia's workhorse, the oh-so humble Honda Cub. What a way to remind us all that outside of the Motorbike Show, the real world awaited us.

Now, that's a proper bike. Respect.

12 March 2011

Chalkboard Analysis: Midfield Passing

Eager to get my hands on more evidence to prove that Liverpool's number 21 isn't the complete waste of space a small but vocal minority of football fans consider him to be, I decided to work on getting some chalkboard analysis of the player, starting with Liverpool's recent home match against United which, we won 3-1 (just in case any of you out there decides to develop selective amnesia)...

OK, so Lucas made 56 passes, 9 of which were unsuccessful (according to Guardian statistics) during the match against United. What does it mean though? On its own, it means that Lucas had an 84% pass completion rate which seems OK but when compared to that of Paul Scholes at the other end, it looked quite awful. Scholes finished the match with a 92% completed pass rate amassing a whopping total of 72 passes in the process. It should be noted that only Michael Carrick surpassed Scholes in the amount of passes made with 85 but with a far less impressive pass completion rate of 78%.

Admittedly, a big Homer Simpson d'oh moment. Here I was trying to statistically prove to the doubters that Lucas was more than a decent player but all I ended up doing is prove the complete opposite, statistically.

But then, an epiphany. It wouldn't be fair to compare Scholes with Lucas or for that matter, Carrick with Lucas for the sole reason that Lucas doesn't play for United and neither does Scholes play for Liverpool with the two clubs employing very differing styles of play. So, if Ferguson requires that his midfielders pass the ball around more often then, so be it. The same standard shouldn't apply to Lucas or any other Liverpool player, at least not as a single gauge to measure player abilities.

What would be fair then?

I'd compare Lucas to Steven Gerrard. Eh? Compare an up and coming midfielder with a club legend and who is second only to the King himself in the eyes of Liverpool fans? Most certainly. If a player is to be deemed worthy of pulling on the TechFit of Liverpool, surely he can at the very least match the underperforming club captain. So, here goes...

Surprisingly to some or maybe to most. After all that, there is one question that's popped up but we'll leave that for another day... 

Note: Changed chalkboard graphics from the original Flash one to normal images to make it widely viewable. 

10 March 2011

The Irish Motorbike and Scooter Show 2011: The Scooters

Visiting the show, I made the conscious decision of saving the best until the end of the show. Well, what I considered the best anyway i.e. the scooters. As in the last show, the nicer scooters on show came from a joint exhibit between the Vespa Club of Ireland and the Lambretta Club Ireland, courtesy of Ace Cafe London.

Although the scooters on show by the two clubs seldom disappoint, I was left feeling a bit frustrated by the lack of any other scooter-related exhibits or traders. Yes, there were the odd modern scooters thrown in by the Japanese makes on show as well as a full stand of Vectrix electric scooters but other than that, there was really nothing else scooter-wise. I knew full well that LML and Vespa were going to be no-shows given that the local distributors, Bikeworld seem to shun the show but maybe, I was still half hoping that some new LMLs would pop up at the show (I ruled out seeing the new Vespa PX completely though).

Anyway, there were still some very good scooters to see with Mick Ayre's Star Trek-themed Cosa (as seen in Scootering magazine issue #296) being at the top of my list.

Now, let me get this straight, I am no Klingon-speaking Trekkie. The reason I like this Cosa is because its unique and because I admire the understated quality of its paintwork (I am told that it was done by Liam Finnegan and my pics don't actually do it justice). And yes, I don't see why the Cosa needed a head transplant (that's a T5 headset on the scooter, if you hadn't noticed already) but if it adds to its uniqueness then, why not?

Of course, there were other scooters on show too. Here's a few of the rest...

I don't know what it is but I just love the look of trailers on scoots. I also noticed a couple of scooters with very nice looking white wall Schwalbe Weathermans. I had considered getting myself a pair of these tyres some time ago but couldn't justify the extra €10-€20. Having seen them in the flesh this time around, I might just go for them as soon as the Heidenaus that I currently have needs replacing.

One can't just ignore the Scomadi (above) and no self-respecting scooter exhibit would be seen as complete without the obligatory Mod scooter (below). And, that brings us to the end of the scooter bit to the Motorcycle and Scooter Show. Hopefully, it went well enough for the organisers and the exhibitors to convince them to make this an annual event (it was certainly more impressieve than last week's car show if that's anything to go by).

Thankfully, the scootering calendar's only beginning so, there'll be more than enough to keep me occupied for the next few months.

08 March 2011

The Irish Motorbike and Scooter Show 2011: The Bikes

I was feeling quite uneasy that Saturday afternoon. It didn't have anything to do with the hundreds of hairy and greasy bikers that had laid siege on the RDS that cloudy day (was it really cloudy or was it just exhaust fumes?). Having left my Vespa at home, I probably felt a bit guilty arriving at a bike show in a friend's SUV (a logical choice considering there were more than two of us heading to the show) and feared that like some wild animal, one of these bikers could sense the lack of 2-stroke lingering on me and point out that I didn't belong there...

Thankfully, this isn't a bike or scooter rally for the purists so, my non-biker friend and I were safe. I had my Dainese jacket on anyway, as insurance just in case anyone had any doubts. Unfounded fears aside, we hurried to get in the show proper but as with most of these shows, the bikes on the outside are sometimes equally if not more interesting than the ones on the inside. I managed to get a couple of snaps before heading in.

I couldn't figure out what make this bike-sidecar combo was but it certainly stood out from the crowd while the rod-style bike below was parked right by the entrance to the main hall. I like the rod look and this one's a very nice example of how to pull it off without making it looking too Disney.

Inside, we were greeted by Ducati's imposing exhibit. Quite fitting really considering that Ducati is seen as the in-thing these days. Here's a Monster 796. I was on the look out for  the Diavel but it was no where to be seen.

Not being a major fan of motorbikes, nothing really caught my attention. The BMW Motorrad stand was busy with loads of interested visitors but being located right beside the Ducati stand, even the normally decent-looking BMW bikes were made to look like dull and plain lumbering beasts. I ventured further away from the Ducati bikes until I came upon the Triumph stand.

I don't know what it is but if I ever had to swap my Vespa for a bike, I'd go with the naked variety (like Ducati's Monsters) or street fighters like Triumph's Street Triple, something with relatively good maneuverability, quick and not too flashy. The ideal traffic-busting vehicle, unlike the one below...

I certainly didn't see the point of riding a bike or scooter if it couldn't tick those boxes.

Next up, The Irish Motorbike and Scooter Show 2011: The Scooters.

06 March 2011

Kenny's Perfect Birthday Gift

I took a glance at the car's clock on the dash. More out of habit than actually needing to check the time. I knew I was already late at that stage. It read 13:37 in bright orange just in case I had any doubts. 7 whole minutes had passed since kick-off at Anfield earlier today and I was still sitting in my car in a parking lot that seemed like it was in the middle of nowhere.

As I was about to doze off like my son who was sat in the seat behind me, there were two quick taps on the car's window. By the time I could figure out who it was, my two other kids had planted themselves in the backseats and my wife was looking straight at me with a look of urgency in her eyes.

So, what's the plan? You taking us home and getting the Vespa to Tyrellstown?

My wife didn't have to be a Liverpool fan to know the importance of the next few minutes. All that she needed to know was that it was Liverpool versus Manchester United and more importantly, her husband had sacrificed some very precious minutes to keep a promise to their children.

15 minutes later, I was at the front of the Thirsty Bull, locking up my Vespa and hurriedly making my way into the pub. The double doors swung open and I was met with a full pub that was staring straight through me. I soon realised that I was blocking the view of one of the many big screen TVs that was in the place. The game was definitely going on but the crowd that I was facing was a bit subdued. Walking out of the way, I checked the scoreline: Two up to Liverpool. Great, and with a beaming smile on my face I looked around to share the happiness. It was then that I noticed that I was in the wrong end of the pub so, I quickly made my way to safer areas.

After finding my mates and catching-up on the details of the goals, with Suarez's run past Rafael, Carrick and Brown being the main talking point (oh so understandably), my full attention was on the TV a few feet away from where we were standing.

It's probably a bit unfortunate for Nani that the Oscars are out of the way or else the Academy might have some thinking to do in selecting Collin Firth as their Best Actor. Seriously, it was a complete performance by the Jacko (circa Thriller) lookalike. There was some action in the performance (he does his own stunts, I'll have you know) while the tears (yes, tears!) that accompanied the desperate pleading and begging were switched on right on cue. I was actually quite embarrassed for the player.

WWE-stuff aside, there was a football match to be played and Liverpool, having a two-goal margin allowed United to come back into the game but they never looked like they could seriously threaten Liverpool's lead. So, it came as no surprise when Dirk Kuyt's third tap-in came along 20 minutes after the break. Following the goal, it was more of a procession towards the referee's final whistle. Andy Carroll was introduced and the Kop showed its appreciation, belting out Happy Birthday to celebrate Dalglish's 60th birthday on the Friday just passed.

Happy Birthday King Kenny. May we have more days like this coming our way!

04 March 2011

When is a Fan, a Fan?

There’s a well known saying among Liverpool supporters which basically goes like this...

If you don’t go, don’t blow.

It basically means that if an individual wasn’t in attendance at a Liverpool match (be it at Anfield or at some away ground), he or she doesn’t have the right to comment or provide any in-depth analysis into Liverpool’s performance during the match in question.

But, with the age of Sky (which coincides with the advent of the Premier League) and the burgeoning role the internet is playing, this concept is only correct to an extent. On TV, one only sees the players the cameras are focused on or more specifically, the players the TV director chooses to show to the viewing public. So, someone sat on their sofa in the comfort of their own homes or a pub somewhere couldn’t possibly see what Player A or Player B is doing off the ball. A player covering empty space to limit the opposition’s options isn’t as exciting enough for TV but in footballing terms, if implemented properly, could be as vital as a crunching, last-minute tackle (good TV). The same goes to say, a fullback making a darting run into space to pull away at least one of the opposition’s defenders. More often than not, the fullback is ignored by the ball-carrying player as a better or more direct opportunity presents itself, thanks to the fullback’s run in the first place. As with the “empty space” player, the fullback isn’t the focus of the cameras as he hugs the touchline and gradually drifts out of the 16:9 TV view.

Clearly, match-going fans have the advantage of seeing all these off-the-ball antics (if they choose to do so) and I’d happily admit that match-goers have the advantage over a largely TV-watching fan like myself who has only watched a handful of games at Anfield (including one on the Kop – just had to stress that one!). So, does this make me less of a fan?

Probably, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the “blowing” bit. You see, at the very least, I and most of the decent TV-watching fans actually watch every minute of every Liverpool game before coming up with any sort of opinion, conclusion or solution. If it’s not watched live at home, at a pub or at a friend’s place, I’d catch-up by watching the full match online (normally via my LFC TV account). Only when all that has been done will I deem myself worthy of adding my views to a conversation on a Liverpool match. OK, I might jump in here and there if the conversation veers towards previously watched matches or more general issues related to the club but in general, if I didn’t go (or watch), I just wouldn’t blow.

Unfortunately though, this concept doesn’t seem to come through a small but annoyingly vocal minority of Liverpool “fans”.

Take for example Mr. A, who can be very vocal when voicing opinions about this and that player and this and that manager (before Dalglish came along of course). Naturally, he professes love for the club but when queried on how many games he has actually watched, he’ll honestly, without an ounce of guilt or regret declare that he has only watched a handful of games when the season is already at the 20+ games played stage. And, even when he does catch the odd game, it’ll be limited to a few glances at the TV screen when a Liverpool outfield player can be seen passing the ball back to goalkeeper. Conclusion? Player is merde and has no right wearing the red of Liverpool. Why the player decided on a backpass in the first place isn’t even considered. It takes too much energy for such a “fan” to even think of in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong though. Mr A isn’t your average bumbling idiot so, to avoid being seen as socially dysfunctional and not being able to contribute to conversations in an adequate manner, he would’ve done some research on the matter. Hence, watching a bit of Match of the Day and picking up the few tabloids that he can get his hands on is a must. It’s no wonder then that every opinion that comes out of his mouth sounds exactly like the mindless poop that counts as expert opinion in the mainstream media (especially embarrassing when the opinion is actually a whole week old). Sounds good and well researched to untrained ears but to the decent fan, it’s as unpleasant as the sound of fingernails scratching on a blackboard.

At first, I thought the people I despised most (when it comes to football) were the unhealthily obsessive Liverpool-watchers (correctly pointed out by Chris Rowland in his write-up as Mancs) but that’s slowly changing these days. It’s the enemy within that Liverpool fans should be wary of not the openly hostile ones from that other club.

02 March 2011

Second Class Citizen

I lost my parking spot at work a few weeks ago and have had to squeeze in wherever my Vespa could fit which normally consists of very undesirable spaces in the parking area. My normal space has unfortunately been taken over by bicycles after their own assigned space was needed for an exhibition on Smarter Travel. "Smarter" in this case, roughly translates to the use of public transport, car sharing, bicycles, electric bicycles, electric cars and Segways.

Depending on where one lives, I'd doubt the use of public transport could be considered a smart move. Yes, smarter for the environment but for one's mental health? I honestly doubt it. Bicycles? Well, as annoying as some lycra-clad cyclists can be, bicycles are actually a very viable option (shock, horror!). Seriously, they are smarter and way healthier. But what about the electrified variety? They've been around for ages but as far as I can tell, they just come across as a fat person's bicycle. The people responsible for marketing such a thing might as well go with taglines like this:

Not fit enough to keep up with other real cyclists? Why not cheat? Get yourself an electric bicycle and level the playing field.

Yeah. See my point? So, until some advertising genius comes up with a novel idea of marketing electric bicycles, I don't think they're going to sell in large numbers any time soon. This then leaves us with the Segways. Admittedly, I've never been on a Segway but have seen quite a few of them - there 's the tourists roaming around Phoenix Park in the summer and security guards who can be seen whizzing around the IFSC and Dublin airport.

We can safely excuse and ignore the tourists because we all go a bit la-la when we're off holidaying in a foreign country. Some of us decide to wear funny hats while some of us might even opt to put on some bright green trousers for a change. Some just decide to jump on Segways.

So, to give us a better idea of how Segway users would be like in real life, we'll have to look at the security guards. Most security guards that I've come across are by nature, an insecure bunch. My theory is, they're just wannabe policemen who didn't make the grade because they are either too short, too fat or just plain stupid. Other than being aggresively defensive, insecure people are also extremely volatile beings and on Segways they're insecurity can be multiplied to the extent that they turn into outright ponces and douchebags. In short, the Segway isn't actually going to pick up on sales while these power-crazy security dudes are Segway's face to the real world. Smart? In theory maybe.

My Vespa might be a piece of ancient engineering with its incomplete combustion, 2-stroke engine but at least it gets me to work efficiently using less petrol than any of the Range Rovers and Aston Martins that unfair as it seems, still have their parking spots. So, let's be smart and give me my parking space back.

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