The Vagrant

I was approached today by an operative from our UK branch (code name “The Brit” and sometimes referred to as Tin) who worked with me while conducting surveillance of one William the Sheep.

It was suspected that William might be a high level officer of the notorious BAA! network and might be engaged in subterfuge and espionage operations here in America and abroad after travelling to the US via unsuspecting souvenir seeking tourists.

I followed William to Europe and after extensive monitoring was able to clear him of all wrong-doing until his picture showed up on a Russian web site and raised suspicion once again.

Tin had come to inform me that there was a lot of chatter being picked up amongst known operatives in the BAA! network which would tend to indicate something big was happening.

That’s when he told me about another suspected BAA! agent known as “The Vagrant”

The Vagrant first came to our attention sometime in 1998; caught on surveillance video waiting to be “˜picked-up’ at Sheep World, located just North of Auckland, New Zealand. It wasn’t long before his “˜merging with the crowd’ tactic worked and he was able to turn his back on the rolling, verdant hills of Warkworth for the metropolis that is Sydney, Australia. Spurning the “Collective” he emigrated sometime in 2000 to Wiltshire, England; a county with tenuous
connections to the Australian and New Zealand Baa networks. It’s possible The Vagrant was the nucleus for clandestine “˜BAA in England’! recruiting sojourns to Cranleigh, England; Lugano, Switzerland; and LochCarron, Scotland finally lead to Houston, Texas in 2002 where he’s been “˜sleeping’ for 5 years.

I’m not sure what this all means. It would certainly appear that William and The Vagrant share a similar modus operandi. Two sheep passing themselves off as mere tourist baubles? You might recall that William found passage to the United States after being “purchased” from a vendor at the Edinburgh Woolen Mill. This allowed William to arrive in the U.S. in 2002, the same year as The Vagrant. It was only a few short years later that William was jetting off to Amsterdam and Paris with a stop over in Belgium where he was spotted consorting with a possible BAA! network splinter cell in Bruges.

We lost track of him for a brief time before he was spotted on the night train from Paris to Venice where I proceeded to follow him to Florence and Rome.

Tin informed me that Galway, Ireland was coming up frequently in the chatter. It appears I will be off to Aerfort Na Sionna on the morrow to do a little investigative work…

Galway – Day 1

Arrived in Galway without any problem. Houston to Chicago with a 40 minute layover. Turns out the connecting flight was just on gate over in the very same terminal.
Luggage arrived safely and I caught a cab from the airport in Shannon to the Marriot in Galway.

I didn’t really sleep on the plane so I was pretty beat when I check into the hotel. I got some breakfast and decided to set my alarm and take a short nap. When the alarm went off I was sorely tempted to just go back to sleep but I knew this would be a bad idea so I forced myself to get up and get moving.

Galway is a very pedestrian friendly city. I was able to walk/shamble down to the city center and poke around. Very crowded on a Saturday. Tourists and street performers everywhere. The thing I am noticing more and more when I travel is how distracted the pedestrians are as the walk around yakking or texting on their mobile devices.

When they’re standing still it’s not so bad, they’re just clogging the pedestrian arteries. When they’re walking they’re like human smart bomb/missiles without the “smart.”

I made myself keep moving and I wandered around quite a bit. Most of the street performers were unremarkable at best, with the exception of two.

This young harpist was quite talented and a joy to watch, even if the din of the street traffic washed away much of the subtlety

Then there was this guy:

Cardboard instruments, cardboard sheet music, cardboard CD’s, cardboard pet dog. The only thing that wasn’t cardboard was the instrument case and the ever-growing pile of Euros inside it. He performed quite recognizable songs (mostly Irish traditional standards) by mouthing a series of “plinks” and “plonks.” He even brought up a spectator for a duet.


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Note the paperclip capo on his “instrument.”

I must confess, it was probably one of the most sublimely brilliant pieces of street performance I have ever witnessed. Of course I witnessed it while being utterly sleep deprived.

Photos of things that made me hum an Irish tune


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Farewell to your bricks and mortar, farewell to your dirty lies
Farewell to your gangers and gang planks
And to hell with your overtime
For the good ship Ragamuffin, she’s lying at the quay
For to take oul Pat with a shovel on his back
To the shores of Botany Bay

A small bird sat on an ivy bunch
And the song he sang was “The Jug Of Punch.”


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And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

Time to explore, time to reflect

Keeping in mind that the baldheretic server is operating on local time in Houston, posts that appear to be made at 6:00 pm are actually going up around midnight due to the time difference.

In essence, I am blogging to my US readers from the not so distant future.
No flying cars or jet packs, but somewhat closer to developing cold fusion.

Haven’t found a way to play this to my advantage in regards to the lottery…curse the luck.!

Travelling Fuel

It feels good to have been at the Galway office today. I got to meet/see again many of my Irish co-workers.

It’s a good atmosphere there. We made plans for initial phase of the domain migration and we’re pushing that part through this evening.
We’ll see how it went when we get in tomorrow morning.

Two of the lads took me to a place called Shambo’s that features sandwiches served on unique Shamrock shaped focaccia or wholemeal breads.

It’s not a tourist place. This one was located in very industrial area and it was full of working class and professional type people obviously out on their lunch break.

That didn’t stop me from photographing my lunch before chowing down, though!


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It was quite yummy!

After work today I decided it was time to have my official first Guinness in Ireland. I’d heard all the stories about how Guinness tastes soooooo much better in Ireland and I wanted to see for myself, especially since I am not all that fond of Guinness in the first place.

Owen, Niall and Paul all unanimously agreed that Murphy’s Pub was the place to go for this so I wandered down toward the river to find it.
It wasn’t much trouble and went in and had a seat at the bar and placed my order with the bartender.

And I, being the camera toting dufus I am, captured the momentous beer for posterity.


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Let me state for the record that it is absolutely true. This Guinness tasted fantastic! Smooth and not bitter like I recall my American experiences.

I see a few more pints in my immediate future….

Marching To The Sea

The sun stays up till about 10:00 pm in this part of the world at this time of year. Not that there’s been much of it here lately. It’s rained and been overcast most of the past month or so. Looks like I brought some Texas sunshine with me on this trip because today was spectacular. So spectacular, in fact, that I walked several miles down to the entrance to Galway Bay and back along the River Corrib.


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That pretty much wiped me out for the evening. Now I am back in the hotel and just updating this blog and getting ready for some sleep.

Where’s the “any” key?

When travelling to Europe a few years back I did not take a computer with me. It was pretty much “catch as catch can” in the various countries, between the odd Internet cafe and the various hotel or B&B provided terminals.

Something I knew, but did not fully consider, was that each country used a unique keyboard layout. This made it somewhat vexing when it came to typing certain characters. I recall struggling to find the key combination for the @ symbol on a French computer with the key symbols worn away from over-use.

If you know how to type without watching your fingers, and you have access to the computer settings then the easiest thing to do is go to the control panel and change the layout to US.

Microsoft offers step by step instructions in KB306560

If you’re a hunt and peck typist or you don’t have the ability to change the keyboard layout you will need to familiarize yourself with the keyboard layout of the country you’re visiting.

There’s a handy guide located at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout

US KEYBOARD LAYOUT

UK/IRELAND KEYBOARD LAYOUT

One of the most frustrating differences on UK keyboard is that the quotation marks are on the 2 key while the @ sign takes the place the quotation marks.

Galway Slang

Craic (pronounced “crack”) is the Gaelic word for “fun

Actual conversation in the cab from the airport:

Cab Driver: Are you up for a bit of craic?
Me: No, I’m here on business…

Memorable slang so far:

Craic – Fun
Knackered – Tired
No Panic -No worries/problem
Shite – No good, awful
Dry Shite – Boring person
Deadly – Cool
Destroyed – Drunk
Plonker – Idiot