Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Lunch with the Tramore Gospel Choir

Roma, Kate, Vicki, and I went down to "The Pub" in Monkstown Crescent for Sunday Lunch today (Claire's exams start tomorrow, so she decided to study instead). We had a very pleasant lunch but got a nice surprise to find that the Tramore Gospel Choir were going to perform in the restaurant while we were there. We had just finished our main course when they started up singing songs about Mary weeping and Pharoah's army being "drownded". Our table was right beside where they set up, so we had the best seats in the house. There were some great harmonies and plenty of hallelujahs. The choir was lead by the finest grey hair and beard I have seen in a long time (the guy at the back in the photo). He had plenty of tattoos, and I couldn't help wondering if he also had a Harley-Davidson, as there is a very active group of Harley riders in the Waterford/Tramore area. Praise be!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Response to my Letter in The Irish Times

Daniel K. Sullivan of Limerick replied to my letter of April 13th last about the emergency budget in The Irish Times on 15th April. Here is the text of his letter (copied from The Irish Times Letters page without permission):


In reply to Eugene FM O’Loughlin, (April 13th), I suspect that looking at the recent Budget, the spirit of John F Kennedy might more plausibly have put it to the Government: “Ask not what your country did to you – ask what you did to your country”. –

Yours, etc,


Monday, April 20, 2009

Walk on Carrickgolligan Hill

Yesterday Roma an I set out for a walk on Carrickgolligan Hill - this is is the hill where Ballycorus Chimney is located that I posted on before. It was a glorious week end here in Dublin with bright sunshine all day long. It was a bit hazy though and we did not get too much of a view. On a clear day you can see a long way from here - but not for us. Despite this we enjoyed the walk - it is not too long and not difficult. In the Google Map below we started out at the Carrickgolligan car park which is located at the bottom left of the map, and went anti-clockwise around the hill.

Of course we went to see the chimney - Roma had not been up to see it before. I took the picture above with my iPhone on the path just down from the chimney. Afterwards we went up to Johnny Fox's Pub where I had a very nice pint of Guinness among the throngs of tourists in a very busy bar. A very nice day out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Seamus Heaney at 70

All this week there have been celebrations of Ireland's only living Nobel Laureate - poet Seamus Heaney who was 70 last Monday. I have to confess I know nothing about his poetry, and have never to my knowledge read any of it. I don't recall if his poetry was on the English syllabus while I was in school - but that was the 1970's which was early in Heaney's career. Even though he is the most famous living Irish literary figure I have no plans to read any - such is my disinterest in poetry.

I do have something in common with Seamus Heaney - he was conferred with an honory doctorate (D. Litt.) in Trinity on the same day as I was conferred with my PhD on 8th July 1988. This was before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995 - I had no idea then that I was in the presence of greatness. I have kept all the ceremony documents to this day - also receiving honory doctorates on that day were scientist John Stewart Bell and Bishop Donald Caird. The citations were read out in latin - in fact the whole ceremony was in latin. Thankfully, translations in English were provided for the citations. For interest, here is what Trinity said about Seamus Justin Heaney:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Letter in The Irish Times - 13th April 2009

I recently wrote another letter to the Editor of The Irish Times about our recent emergency budget, and though I did not buy the paper yesterday it was published on the Letters page on Monday 13th April. I found it on-line today. The image shows the text of the letter that was published.

I sound a bit pontifical?

This is the third time I have had a letter published by The Irish Times, and as before it was edited from my original letter - this time quite heavily with a reference to Monty Python completely removed.

Here is my original:


It seems to me that media coverage of Budget 2009 is mostly about the impact on each of our own pockets, as we are all asked to pay a heavy price for our economic woes. Now more than ever we need to believe in the spirit of John F. Kennedy - "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country", rather than in the Monty Python spirit of "what has the Government ever done for us?".

Yours etc,

Eugene F.M. O'Loughlin,
Co. Dublin.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter weekend

I went down to Wexford for the weekend leaving on Good Friday. I was on my own and enjoyed the easy drive down. I stopped off at our house in Skuna Bay to empty my very full car before heading over to Ballingate to see Mum and Dad. After a nice cup of tea and a few of my Mum's delicious homemade biscuits we went to Good Friday Prayers in Askamore Church where Dad sings in the choir. Religion is thriving in the country-side as the church was full. I enjoyed the ceremony as it has been many years since I went to Prayers on Good Friday.

On Saturday I decided to start a new passageway from our garden down to the beach. The steps Dad and I built three years ago are sadly deteriorating and a new set of steps was needed. I cut them out of the sand - hard work. I also went on a long walk down to Glasscarrig Point before doing some more work on a book chapter I am working on (more about this later if it gets published). By evening time I was preparing dinner for Roma, Vicki, and her friend Joanna - barbecued chicken, a Eugene special.

Sunday was meant to be an O'Loughlin family lunch, but both Joe and Kathleen's families couldn't come. Claire and Kate didn't make it either from Dublin as Claire's car was broken in to with her (my old) iPod being stolen. We went to Easter Sunday mass in Ballygarrett where there is a wonderful choir. Roma prepared a brilliant lunch for Mum and Dad - a lovely day overall. In the afternoon I got a message from a guy who found the iPod (my number was on the back) - so Claire's iPod was restored later that evening to her. Honesty is still out there.

Today we cleaned up the house before heading back to Dublin - the traffic was wicked. The trip back was 2.5 hours - usually it is about 1.25 hours. I am exhausted as today I finished up the new passageway by hammering some wooden stakes into the ground to support the new passageway - this was very hard work. Anyway - I hope the new passageway is worth it for the summer.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

How To...Embed a YouTube Video into PowerPoint

To celebrate 10,000+ YouTube views for my "How To..." channel, I have uploaded a new video entitled "How To...Embed a YouTube Video into PowerPoint". This is one of the quickest videos that I have made - I recorded this in one go without too much messing with settings. I now use CamStudio for recording both my screen movements and audio. This creates a video in AVI format that can easily be uploaded to YouTube. Here's the video embedded below:

This video shows the user how to embed a YouTube video into a PowerPoint presentation. This looks better than a hyperlink to click on and to launch your browser separately. It also makes your presentation looks a bit more professional, and makes you look a bit "cooler"!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

YouTube - 10,000 views!

A couple of years ago I started a YouTube channel with a "How To..." series of videos showing how to do simple things with (mostly) Microsoft Office tools. Today I am pleased to report that views of my videos have reached a landmark figure of 10,000 views (10,043 as I write this) and I am averaging over 100 views per day. Yesterday I uploaded my ninth video about embedding YouTube videos into PowerPoint.

The viewing figures for all nine videos are as follows:

How To...Embed a YouTube Video into PowerPoint3
How To...Create a Project Network Diagram in PowerPoint155
How To...Create a Basic Gantt Chart in Excel 2003801
How To...Embed a YouTube Video into a Moodle Course Page117
How To...Create a Windows Media Video Using PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker324
How To...Draw a Polar Diagram in Excel186
How To...Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) in Excel1608
How To...Create a Pareto Chart in Excel4815
How To...Convert PowerPoint to iPod Movie2034

Some are more popular than others - the video on drawing a Pareto chart is the most popular - accounting for almost half my total views. While 10,000 views is a modest figure compared to viewing figures for other similar videos, I am happy that some people find them useful. I have had a few, but very positive comments on these videos.

All this proves that people want to learn using tools like YouTube. My videos are amateur, with no studio or special equipment in use. I simply record using a standard microphone and software such as Windows Movie Maker and CamStudio. It's easy to do once you get to grips with the technology, and could be a useful add-on for tutorials and revision for students.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Quidam - Cirque du Soleil

Last evening Roma and I were invited to Quidam - Cirque du Soleil at the The O2 as guests of Cahill-May Roberts (CMR). What a fantastic show!!! I was not really bothered about going and had suggested that Vicki or Claire go instead, but both were otherwise engaged. I walked up from NCI to The O2 and met Roma there. We were greeted by CMR organizers, but went into the wrong Reception room. We met Gemma and Michael Maughan (Bryan Bourke's in-laws) and had dinner with them. Bank of Ireland Private Banking were hosting this reception and I got the chance to talk to some rich folks. We hadn't really noticed that there were no other pharmacists around. As we were in the wrong Reception we had not been given our tickets and it took us a long time to find the right reception where CMR folks were frantically trying to find us.

Our seats were right in the middle of the mid-tier - perfect for viewing the aerial acrobatics. The whole show was a blast of energy and acrobatics, with everything timed to almost perfection. It had everything - German wheel, banquine, hand-balancing, aerial contortion, skipping, diabolos, and of course a clown. We both thoroughly enjoyed the show. We had drinks afterwards - this time at the right Reception, and chatted to the CEO of CMR (Gary) and some pharmacists. A good night out!