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Stephen Beirne's blog

The Ten Things of Byronic Man
5:47 AM on 04.24.2012





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Stephen Beirne 's blog
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About
There once was a man from an island
Who preferred his spare time to be silent.
He liked Final Fantasy XIII,
Epistemology,
And when gamers got mad he got violent.
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Without ado, here are ten things you probably donít know about me.



#10 Ė I enjoy cooking

It warms my heart to see other community members put their love of cuisine on their lists as itís an enthusiasm I share. Thereís something about planning, preparing and making a home-cooked meal that is absolutely wonderful. I love the creative procedure that goes into it, like arts and crafts but you get to eat the result.

Because of this, Iíve always disliked the idea of microwavable dinners as you miss out on all the fun and sense of achievement (and yes, time and effort) that comes from making a honey roasted ham with potato cakes or a beef and Guinness stew.

Thereís also the dietary aspect. I never used to eat vegetables as a kid, never had a taste for them. A few years ago I took the plunge and, with a fantastic recipe from a friend to make them palatable, Iíve grown to love veggies. Iíve also noticed how much more energy I have and how better I feel in general. Because of this, Iíve grown to believe that your diet has a big say in your daily life.

So if you feel miserable for no reason, try making a big healthy meal for yourself. It might help.



#9 Ė Have travelled a bit

I spent a few months backpacking around southeast Asia in 2008. It was quite an enjoyable break away from the Irish winter, although it did have its downside (loneliness and food poisoning). Several years later my brother took the whole family to China to meet his wifeís family, which was invariably a much more fun experience.

Among many of my adventures, I have ridden an elephant in Malaysia, played chess with a Canadian lumberjack in Laos, seen the Terracotta Army, cycled the length and breadth of Vientaine, celebrated the new year on a small Thai island, climbed the Great Wall of China, went slightly mad atop Kuala Lumpur Tower, banjaxed my knee in Turkey, spent countless afternoons sipping masala tea on Indian beaches, and so on.

Itís odd Ė I normally donít remember all this. Itís only when I get to thinking about it does it all come flooding back to me. Such is my crappy memory, I guess. At any rate, Iím far from the next Michael Palin but itís good to get out of the house once in a while, you know?



#8 Ė Airships are awesome

Itís my goal to earn a pilot licence that will enable me to fly an airship. Lofty dream, you say? Well Iíve always had my head in the clouds, har har.

Seriously though, theyíre currently making new airships that will go far beyond the capabilities of historical Zeppelins. Thereís a fair amount of competition for it, too. Some hybrid airships are set to be safer, cheaper, more luxurious, more efficient, more eco-friendly, and more dependable than modern planes and jets. The catch is theyíre also quite slower.

Between natural disasters and unpredictable weather conditions there have been plenty of instances within the past couple of years alone where travel or rescue operations have been enfeebled, but where hybrid airships could have been utilized with great success. It might be the Studio Ghibli in me coming out but I think thereís a growing niche for the use of different types of airships.

Also, airships are fucking awesome.



#7 Ė Bit of a hoarder

A combination of sentimentality and scout training (you never know when you might need that piece of red string) has prevented me from throwing out most of the nonsense I have collected over the years. When off duty, all my trinkets and toys tend to be quite spread out across my house, so I gathered a few of the more accessible bits for easy photographing.

There's some Dragonball Z figures, a small Malaysian teapot, a Terracotta soldier, Darth Tater, a Fallout bobblehead, Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, a Thai hat, a toy minivan with a jade turtle on top, a rifle-shaped lighter, and companion cube fuzzy dice.

Then thereís always Boris, our mannequin.



#6 Ė Interested in politics

If you follow me on the Twitter you probably already know of my interest in political and social affairs. What you donít know is that this is only a comparatively recent preoccupation of mine.

Like most Irish people, I was raised with an unhealthy attitude of political apathy. Itís a wonderful way of keeping a country under your thumb, at least. In more recent years, a combination of factors has seen that pointless cynicism smashed like Templebar on a Friday night. Between the Irish and European recessions and the Arab Spring, it would have been hard not to grow interested in politics, short of keeping my head firmly buried in sand.

Probably the biggest influence was my girlfriend. She knocked the stupid out of me by using facts, arguments and a social conscience. Reading up about feminism and learning what it actually is (as opposed to how itís cartooned in the media) and about the disparate treatment of the genders even today has made me realise that my former beliefs were largely unfounded. I used to be one of those bozos who thought ďBut it happens to men too!Ē was sufficient to discredit all the social inequalities dealt to women across the world. Imagine that!



#5 Ė I donít dance

You know the way getting out on the dance floor and flailing for a bit is so much fun? I donít. Although I donít mind when other people go a bit mad and enjoy themselves, everything about the idea of joining in myself makes me feel dreadfully uncomfortable.

Itís much worse when you apply peer pressure. As the best man to my brotherís wedding a few years ago, I was expected to take the stage and dance with one of the bridesmaids. Naturally I had offered my refusal beforehand and it all seemed fine. Then, on the day, my family gradually pumped up the importance of it until it was an end-of-the-world scenario. This just made shit worse Ė they didnít consider how uncomfortable dancing makes me feel, and by pouring on the guilt they just compounded my anxiety. When the time came and they forced me bodily onto the dance floor, that didnít work either.

At the end of the night I danced for a minute with my girlfriend, but it was discrete and on our own terms. And we were drunk.

I would have gladly handed over the best man position to my other brother had I not been lead to believe it would be grand. Guess they thought Iíd fold on the day. The whole thing made me feel terrible and guilty. Believe me, things would be far easier if dancing was a thing I enjoyed or even didnít mind... but it isnít.



#4 Ė Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo

...is my favourite sentence. I love puns and wordplay, so when I learned of this line my head went through the roof. It may look like the prison scrawling of a mad cowboy but it is an entirely coherent sentence since the one word refers to an animal, a place and an action. Depending on interpretation it can mean ďbuffalo from Buffalo who are bullied by buffalo from buffalo, bully other buffalo from Buffalo.Ē

Yep, Iím pretty lame.



#3 Ė Hereís a bunny I made for Easter

(Mine is the one with the hat.)

Also a spooky ghost for Halloween.



#2 Ė I love Dragonball Z

Itís true, Iím a big nerd. Itís silly how much useless Dragonball Z-centric knowledge I have accumulated through years of immersion. Back when it was on Toonami, I used to wake up extra early before school just so I could catch the latest episode in spite of my being a little too old for it Ė considering how much I loathe mornings, thatís somewhat indicative.

For as convoluted as the plot is, I still find myself able to recite narrative beats, character arcs and lore whenever the conversation arises. I love the mental workout that was involved in keeping up with the story. You could pore over each saga to catalogue how each narrative element interacted and formed the natural plot progression... or if you werenít in the mood, you could simply enjoy the fights as pretty lightshows.

Alongside the X-Men, Dragonball Z is one of those things I have etched into my mind, taking up permanent brainspace that might have been better used elsewhere.



#1 Ė Quite quiet

I like to have my personal space and I enjoy it when things are on the quieter side. This is probably part of the reason I naturally gravitate towards being a night owl. I understand it makes things difficult for me in some ways but the hustle and bustle of a daytime surrounded by friendly people chatting away is just something I need frequent breaks away from.

Most other people seem to enjoy the physical act of talking more than myself, so often enough Iím content to sit and listen to the conversation of company. Other times, usually during those rare moods where speaking is the last thing I want to do, Iím afraid my reticence comes off as rudeness or hostility. Oops.

Of course, when I get going about a subject Iím interested in I could talk and talk, just like everyone else. Itís especially easy to communicate about some things through text as you can blast away to your heartís content, satisfying your own need to talk about a matter more than your need to communicate it to a patient recipient. Not that Iím saying the internet is an adequate replacement for physical social interaction Ė while you can freely vent about things you love or hate, the web lacks that essential component of human company. Look at me, going off on a tangent.

Anyway, to wrap it up, another part of my quietness is down to a strong inclination towards privacy. Itís the reason Iíve taken ages to put up this blog, since trying to think of ten things about myself that I wouldnít mind sharing was a little troublesome, not least because of how boring I am. Iím not keen on putting up just about anything and I doubt most people are interested in the fact that I marathoned Baccano! last weekend. (#11)

So thatís that. I hope you enjoyed this list and that it didnít drag on too long for you. Have a nice day.
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