Thursday, October 30, 2008

LA views

One of the best things about living in LA this summer was the spectacular views. The house I lived in had a great view of the Hollywood sign, Echo Park and other parts of LA. Here are some of the views.
The white blob in in the middle of the hill is the Hollywood sign. Griffith Obeservatory is the while building on the far hill, right above the brownish building on the ridge of the close hill. (Does that make sense?)

This is the opposite view...I'm on Mount Hollywood, looking back towards downtown LA with Griffith Observatory in the foreground.

Normal view from the back deck. The hills disappear in the smog. The red circle shows where the Hollywood hill/sign should be.

After sunset.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ok, so no one had the answer. Chapmaster derives from my school email address...

Now you know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Month Anniversary!!!!

Today marks the one month anniversary of the Chapmaster blog!!!!
If you've checked the counter at the bottom of the page, you'll see that the page has had over 1000 hits so far (250 of which were probably from me checking the counter at the bottom of the page).
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed checking out my pictures and stories. I have a whole list of "blog post ideas" so I'll keep 'em coming.
Oh, and I'll give a special prize to anyone who can say where my nickname "Chapmaster" comes from. Just put your answer in the comment section of this post.
Here's a special photograph to celebrate with...
I made the robe look popular way before Hugh Hefner.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blarney Stone

One of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions is nothing more that an inconveniently placed rock with a legend conveniently attached. Of course, I am talking about the Blarney Stone. Since we are staying not far from Blarney Castle, we visited during the first weekend we were in Ireland.
Here is Blarney Castle. The Blarney Stone is at the top of Blarney Castle. If you pay about 5-10 dollars, you can get a ticket to visit the castle, kiss the stone, and wander around the castle grounds.
Here we are winding our way up the steep spiral staircase. The castle is basically just a ruin of what used to be a castle. We waited in a line that started outside, snaked around the ground floor of the ruins, and up a spiral staircase to the top of the tower. Apparently, the present castle wasn't the original castle on the site...and they seem to be unsure if the Blarney Stone is actually the original stone.
Here's a view from up on top of the tower. All of the places you could fall off were blocked by metal gates, but it still seemed pretty precarious to me.
Here is a line of people waiting to kiss the stone. The legend goes that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you'll get the "gift of gab." They define "gab" as something to flattery or sweet-talking. There is a story behind why kissing this rock is supposed to give you the gift of gab, something about Mr. Blarney and the Queen of England. But I was concentrating on not falling off the tower, so I didn't really pay attention to the story. You can Wikipedia it if you want to know.
Here is a view of the Blarney Stone from the ground. If you compare this picture to the one at the top of this post, you'll see that the stone is at the top of the tower, just above the double window.
Here is a picture of a picture of me kissing the stone. You basically have lay down, flip your head backwards, hold onto two rods, let some guy grab you, scoot out over the edge, and kiss the stone while some other dude takes your picture. The grass you can see is where I was standing when I took picture right above this one.

After kissing the stone, we walked around the castle garden/grounds. There are some really cool natural formations and plaques describing local legends about witches, elves and whatnot. Here, the guys are preventing a huge rock from blocking the path.
Here is another local legend: the wishing steps. The legend goes that if you close your eyes and walk backwards up the steps, then turn around at the top, and walk backwards down the steps (still with your eyes closed) all the while thinking and concentrating about just one wish, then the wish will come true. Here, Andrew is desperately wishing that Halo IV is as totally awesome as Halo III. I actually forgot to make a wish until I was halfway back down the steps.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Irish Toast

The shot 10/26/2008: An Irish Toast:
"May you be in heaven an hour before the Devil knows you're dead."

Observation: The fact that I am featuring a shot glass on my blog may indicate to you that I am having fun. However, a careful observer will see that the shot glass is in fact sitting on top of my partially highlighted copy of "Adjudicative Legitimacy and Treaty Interpretation in International Trade Law: The Early Years of WTO Jurisprudence," indicating that I am having plenty of not fun.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

One of the coolest things I've done so far in Ireland was walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. It's on the northern coast of Northern Ireland, in County Antrim near Ballintoy. The bridge connects the mainland to a very tiny island which was used for salmon fishing. Now the bridge is a tourist attraction and for about 5-10 bucks you can walk across.

This picture was taken about a mile away from the bridge. You can barely see the bridge spanning the gap and the little people walking across it. Zoolander reference: "What is that, a rope-bridge for ants??"

Closer shot. They say that no one has ever died from falling off the bridge. One dog has fallen off. He probably didn't make it. Now dogs aren't allowed on the bridge.

No more than 8 people are allowed on the bridge at a time. For 2008 they put up a brand new bridge. The bridge is taken down each November, and put back up after winter in March or April.

You have to walk down a set of steep steps to get to the bridge. This is when I first realized how freakin' high the bridge is. People of all types were going across the bridge: small children, grandmotherly looking women, etc. After spending 10 bucks and seeing them go across, I knew I couldn't chicken out.

Here I am on my way over to the island. The bridge was surprisingly stable, although it did bounce up and down a bit. I just looked forward, held on tight and walked as fast as possible. Up to the 1970's the bridge only had one hand rail, no netting, and large gaps in between the wooden slats.

Here I am walking back to the mainland. They say sometimes people cross over to the island and get so scared that they can't cross back over the bridge. These wimps have to be taken off the island by boat. I think it would have been alot scarier if it had been raining or windy out.

I lived.
Pictures by Andrew.

Tequila Mockingbird

One of the biggest drawbacks to spending the semester abroad has been missing the law school's annual beer-league softball season. I've especially missed playing with my team, "Tequila Mockingbird." (If you don't get the significance of our name, say "te-qui-la" out loud, very slowly. It took me like 2 weeks before I figured it out.)

Anyway, Tequila Mockingbird is the third (and last) incarnation of our group's softball team. We started our 1L year very modestly as a ragtag bunch, brought together by ACO and a love of the game/beer. We improved during our 2L year as "SLUbacca," going several games into the playoffs. Now, in our final year, the team has almost reached the top. TM has greatly benefited from some key off-season additions. (I can't help but think that my absence from the team this season may actually be contributing to the team's success...) Now, Tequila Mockingbird is in line to win the championship on Saturday...we need just 2 more victories and we will be the champions!
Good luck guys! I'm proud of you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Team Halo III

Successful applicants must love Mountain Dew, Domino's pizza, and killing alien robots in a totally sweet cyborg arena!
(The current team seeks one more player.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Exciting Conclusion... (alternatively titled: "There comes a time, when we heed a certain call..."

Yesterday's post ended in a cliffhanger. When I last left you, I had just hurled a clumsy, albeit awesome insult/classic '80's reference at Tom. I was unsure how he would respond, and truth-be-told, I didn't think I could handle whatever comeback he'd have due to my inferior insulting skills (see below).

My insult attempt went something like this. "Hey Tom. You look like Diana Ross in the 1985 'We are the World' video. What's goin' on with those jumbo headphones dude?"
Luckily for me I had just recently seen "We are the World" on VH1's Pop-up Video. The video features the biggest music stars of 1985 all coming together to sing a charity song to benefit famine victims in Africa. However, upon closer examination of the video, you will see that it is actually just a commercial for REALLY GIANT HEADPHONES! (go ahead, take a look at the video). These supposedly cool (in 1985) people, Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Rogers, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, etc... basically rock out on screen with their gigantor headphones...for a full 7+ minutes.

When he heard my insult, a funny thing happened to Tom. For once, he was just silent. He looked at me. His face was eerie quietness came over the back of the bus as the Irish countryside raced by. Still silent, Tom blinked...more silence. As the silence stretched on, I began to realize that three things were running through Tom's mind: 1. How dare anyone insult my mega-headphones, 2. What the fuck is he talking about?, and 3. Do I really look like Diana Ross? I had shut him down!

The image of Diana Ross with her giant headphones and equally giant hair bobbing to the music that immediately came to mind when I saw Tom's gigantor-phones. My insult had worked...not just because it was true, but because I was able to simultaneously confuse him with my obscure reference, such that he wasn't really sure what I was saying, and shock him into thinking he looked like Diana Ross. My insult completely shut him down. I had won the battle. I was victorious. Tom turned around in his seat with not even a feeble "shut the hell up" uttered. As he conceded defeat I was gladdened, but somewhat disappointed...a little saddened that the master had fallen.

The Epilogue: A funny thing has happened since that fateful day. Basically, my life has been taken over by the "We are the World" video. The video helped me defeat the master, but it I've had to pay a heavy price. I've watched the video, and have forced other people to watch it, about 1,000 times on YouTube. I've memorized the order of the soloists and most of their lines. I can tell you that Diana Ross first appears at 1:34, that Kenny Rogers likes to sing with his eyes closed, that Bruce Springsteen looks very constipated at 2:19, that Steve Perry from Journey has an awesome solo at 2:32, that a Dwight Schrewt lookalike appears at 4:23....sadly, I could go on and on. The song runs constantly though my head. I race home from class to watch the video over and over. I might as well set the video as my homepage.

A local pub we like to frequent has a digital jukebox. Shortly after I defeated Tom, we were at the pub playing pool when I found none-other-than a track of "We are the World" listed. I quickly put money in the jukebox and filled that unsuspecting Irish pub with the sweet sound of 1985's biggest (and most charitable) stars. Now, I must play that song every time we return.

As a final sign of my dominance over Tom, Cyndi Lauper recently came to our college town to perform a concert. As you know by now, Cyndi Lauper's prominent solo in the video begins at 2:56. It was unbelievable. Just mere days after my victory, one of my protectors from the "We are the World' video was traveling halfway around the world to celebrate with me. There are no such things as coincidences in life.

Life has calmed down here; it has been several weeks since all the excitement. Now I reign supreme, with my band of 1980's charity singing superstars always at my side. Should Tom ever act up and say something like "you look like someone threw up 1986 and got it all over you", I need only clutch my ears, bob my head and start singing "We are the world....we are the children" and me, Diana, Kenny, Bruce, Bob, Stevie, Lionel, MJ, Dionne, Woody, Steve, Huey, Cyndi, Paul, Billy, Harry, Ray and all the others put Tom in his place.

(Tom is actually an early supporter and avid reader of this blog, so this is all in good long as he doesn't step outta line.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

"You look like Diana Ross in the 1985 'We Are the World' video"

The set-up:
My friend, classmate, and sometime travel partner Tom is usually a pretty cool guy. It seems like he really makes an effort to be fashionable, wears trendy t-shirts, etc... In contrast, most of my wardrobe is made up of clothing I either got free from some school event 5 years ago or received as a gift.

One thing about Tom is that he rarely turns down an opportunity to shoot out a witty insult or other biting comment to jab his friends. Having not grown up in a house with brothers, I am not good at the playful art of trading insults and put-downs, so I usually just ignore him. But Tom seems especially interested in commenting upon my wardrobe, saying things like, "nice socks, Captain America" or "isn't that the sweater you've worn the past 8 nights in a row, because it's really great to see it....again."

The Story:
A few weeks ago we traveled to Galway for the weekend. The bus was mostly empty. Tom sat two rows ahead of me. We were about 15 minutes into the bus ride, when to my disbelief and somewhat pleasant surprise, Tom put on a pair of massive, gargantuan, 1970's era, "let me plug these directly into my new hi-fi, reel-to-reel system" headphones. Delighted by this fashion slip-up and pleased with my good fortune, I smiled and considered my next move. I thought to myself, "What should I say? Should I even say anything?" I knew I had to be ready for any comeback insult...for any comment I would make would surely open myself up to a swift counter-attack. I was a little scared, knowing that my inferior "insulting" skills may not be able to handle the more stinging barbs Tom would shoot back.

I decided not to over-analyze the situation, as I am prone to do, and I just said the first thing that came to mind when I saw Tom's mega-headphones...

"Hey Tom! (Tom looks back at me and dismounts from the megaphones.) You look like Diana Ross in the 1985 'We are the World' video!"

Tom looked at me....

Coming tomorrow...the exciting conclusion!

Thanks to for the pics. Check out

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The shot 10/19/2008: For some reason, whenever I see a lifeguard shack I must take a picture of it. It probably comes from either: 1. from growing up in the Midwest and hardly ever seeing any, or 2. my undying love for the TV show "Baywatch." Here are my two favorite lifeguard shack pictures from this summer.
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI

Zuma Beach, near Malibu, CA

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween is coming...

This is my main-man Charlie in his pimpin' penguin costume. His mom runs Spoiled Canine Dog Boutique (, so if your pup is still looking for a Halloween costume, you should check it out. They have lots of other cool dog stuff too.
Here's "Chuck" in his track suit. Charlie and I get along really well. His dad Chris says that Charlie and I get along so well because we both have big noses and can identify with each other.

Speaking of track suits, the Irish equivalent of a "redneck" is someone who wears "a track suit and runners." Translated...sweatsuit/jogging suit and tennis shoes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dunluce Castle

The shot 10/17/2008: Ruins of the Dunluce Castle, in Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Have a pint

The shot 10/15/2008: An interesting suggestion on the Belfast "Peace Wall" courtesy of Andrew.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Around Cork. They speak English, but...

One of my majors in college was Russian, and I took quite a few classes on linguistics. Here are some not-so-technical observations I've made regarding the difference between how people talk here and back at home. I'll put alot of pictures from Cork in this post to spice it up a bit.

The Beamish factory in downtown Cork sits right next to the River Lee. Beamish is very similar to Guiness, but cheaper.

Oftentimes, a"z" will magically turned into an "s" as in...
Utilised = utilized
Criticise = criticize
Politicised = politicized
Authorisation = authorization

Like in the UK, the letter "u" likes to seek into words quite frequently.
Labor = labour

And the letter "l" is very sneaky, doubling up in some words, and vanishing in others.
Travelled = traveled
Enrol = enroll

Oliver Plunkett St. in downtown Cork. This is one of the main streets in the central shopping district.

Different words:

Gents = men’s (as in: men’s room = gents room)
Lads = guys (as in “I went to the pub with the lads last night”.) (the "lads" are not necessarily kids, but always male)
Loads = lots (“my party was loads of fun”)
Brilliant = great ("you look brilliant tonight")
Grand = good ("these chips are grand")
Veg = vegetables (“this meal includes 2 veg”)
Anticlockwise = counter-clockwise
Petrol bomb = Molotov cocktail
“Joe Soap” = “Joe Blow” (but referring to yourself…)
The word “fortnight” is quite common in daily conversation, meaning about 2 weeks.
chips = fries
crisps = chips

Grand Parade, another main street in downtown Cork.

There are a few differences in the way people speak and pronounce words that make some people difficult to understand.

First of all, some people with a Cork accent speak very fast, which always makes things difficult.
The letter "r" is often pronounced like "or" and the letter "l" is said very lyrically.

But the most noticeable difference is how the "th" sound is not really used. The "h" usually drops out. Example...

"I think that Thad thought the thoroughbreds threw up on the third Thursday at three thirty of the fifth month." would be pronounced as,
"I tink tat Tad tought tuh turobreds trew up on tuh turd Tursday at tree turty of tuh fift munt."

St. Finnbarre's Cathedral

The old building at UCC. People say that it looks like "the Harry Potter school" but I must admit I haven't kept up with watching all 50 of the Harry Potter movies.

Tom Lynch's pub is just one of at least two dozen pubs within a 10 minute walk of my apartment.

Jackie Lennox's serves the best fish and chips in town. They also will do your laundry and dry cleaning.