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In Memoriam Ulrich Milde - 1948 - 2017

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Once again, I'm finding myself staring at a blank page, desperately looking to put the unspeakable into words. It is now almost one month since it happened. One month since my phone calls home to Speyer went unanswered. One month since my world collapsed. Every day since then has felt surreal, and I still find myself waking up in the morning unable to grasp the enormity of what happened, hoping that it was just a dream, a nightmare. However, it is bitter reality. Ulrich Milde, my dad, Uli to his friends, passed away in the evening hours of November 8th, 2017, a date that I will always remember. He simply fell asleep in the late afternoon, at a time when he felt content and happy for the first time since my mom passed away back at the end of June 2017.

Looking back at the little over 30 years I spent together with both of them, it is only now becoming apparent just how big of an influence my dad had on me while growing up. Sure, it was from my mom that I learned discipline, ambition…

The Great Cork Apartment Hunt - Episode 2 - Here today, gone tomorrow

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So it's now a few weeks on from receiving my notice, and interesting apartments are about as easy to find as honest politicians in Leinster House. Well, that is not quite true. They are available, just way outside of my price range. Granted, the tail end of September isn't the best time to go hunting, as the market is still saturated with university students desperately trying to find a shoebox where they can sleep, but regardless of that the market is noticeably smaller than in the previous years. Then, all of a sudden, something catches my eye. A two-bedroom apartment just a few minutes walk from the office, in a new estate known as the Quadrants which should sound familiar to regular readers of this blog. The initial description sounds very intriguing indeed. Two bedrooms, modern furniture, in a gated complex, and equipped with all modern conveniences, including that ultimate luxury, a dishwasher. Seriously, Ever since I moved out from my parents place, the only dishwasher i…

The Great Cork Apartment Hunt - Episode 1 - What's so hard?

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So, what's so hard about getting an apartment in Cork anyway? That's a valid question, and one that you'll hear particularly often from people outside of Ireland. As someone who's been living in Ireland for more than five years now, I don't really think about the reasons anymore, not least because they are omnipresent in most Irish newspapers and other media. It only moved to the forefront of my thoughts again after a conversation with an old friend of mine from back in my boarding school days, and since Google Analytics always tells me that most of the visitors on this blog come from either the US or Russia, I thought that a bit of context certainly can't hurt here.
Basically, the entire mess started with the collapse of the Irish economy back in 2008. The abundance of cheap credit available during the Celtic Tiger years had caused a massive building boom in Ireland, as literally everyone and their grandma tried to emulate Donald Trump and dabble in real estate…

The Times they are a-changing! - Why the the ongoing IT revolution affects everyone!

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Let's call a spade a spade here: the Evening Echo, Cork's premier local newspaper, isn't really at home in the digital age. Sure, they've got an app, and a website, but both leave the distinct impression that the paper's management team set those up for "keeping up with the Joneses" rather than due to any real understanding or appreciation of the importance of the web. The same can be said about their social media pages, which are poorly maintained and seemingly unmoderated. That being said, I was more than surprised when they ran a story about a keynote address by Sinead McSweeny, Twitter's Vice President for Public Policy and Communications in EMEA (That's Europe, Middle East and Asia for those not fluent in Corporate-Speak) at a breakfast hosted by the Cork Chamber of Commerce a few days ago. The tenor of her address was that we need to prepare the generations currently coming up through the education system for job roles we can't even imag…

The Great Cork Apartment Hunt - Prologue - Let the Games begin!

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So, on Tuesday my landlord (Well, technically, she's a landlady) dropped a notice of termination of tenancy in my mailbox. Great. Fantastic. Just the kind of thing you need after a day at work that need up with my MacBook Pro being bricked (Yep, you read that right. I upgraded), and generally nothing going the way it should. A Quick check on daft.ie, Ireland's premier real estate website did nothing to lift my sprits. Trying to get anything fit for human habitation under 900€? Forget it! But what could I do? 

Sleep over it, that's what I did. Anything looks different after a good night's sleep. Or, in this case, a good couple of hours at least. It was enough for me. And while I generally don't really give much credence to divine influence, horoscopes, destiny, all that kind of hokum, I couldn't really shake the feeling that whatever powers hold sway up there were sending me a message. It had rained heavily overnight, in fact it was still pouring down outside my …

Ballincollig - From Boom to Bust and Back again

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Well, sometimes you just have to start with a bang, or in this case with a device that delivers them. This artillery piece forms the centrepiece of Barrack Square, my workplace for well over a year now, since my departure from Apple in early 2016. And let me tell you, the difference between my former workplace in the extreme northwest of Cork City, hemmed in between a social  black spot and a half abandoned industrial estate, and the small town, suburban atmosphere of Ballincollig couldn’t be any bigger. No, I haven’t completely lost my marbles, and yes this is a bit of an esoteric topic, especially for those who don’t live in the Cork metro area. Still, despite its apparent obscurity, Ballincollig has quite a bit of history on offer, both in actual historic terms, and in recent terms, especially with regards to the crippling economic crisis of 2008. What’s more, quite a bit of the history of the town is actually incorporated into the current urban landscape. So all in all, there’s qui…