Archives for posts with tag: interests

I’ve been nominated by Belana and Quinie to list 7 things most people don’t know about me.

Gosh – this is a tough one. Rummaging through the trash of my memories and proclivities, it’s quite a challenge to come up with one thing, let alone seven. Anyhoo, here goes.

1) I hate parsnips. Hate, hate, hate. I’ve never liked them. As a child I also hated mushrooms, carrots and pickled beetroot, but I managed to control my disgust mechanisms. I will eat them without any concerns that I might be poisoned. But parsnips? NEVER.

2) I’m not much of a music fan, but I have a wide range of musical tastes. My music collection is full of songs that I have gleaned from Shazam and Internet radio stations. It’s mixture of samba, rap, female vocals, country and classical. Recent downloads include Missy Elliot, The Chemical Brothers, Florence and the Machine and Miserere Mei. Random as hell.

3) History is my thing, these days. I’m currently reading about the Battle of Waterloo. Other books in my collection include an abridged history of Russia, an abridged history of World War I, the story of Europe after World War II and Jesus Interrupted by Bart Ehrman.

4) I don’t do enough reading these days, so I often listen to podcasts on my way to work. My favourite podcasts are This American Life, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and 99% Invisible. I also listen to the BBC History Extra podcast and RTE’s history podcast. Not Dan Carlin though. Man, you need lots of time for that.

5) For years I was involved with H2G2, a crazy yet fascinating online community loosely associated with Douglas Adams. My moniker is/was Woodpigeon. I wrote around 30 guide entries on all sorts of random subjects. I drifted away after a while, when real life got in the way and social media came of age. It was fun and I made a lot of great friends, but what a time sink.

6) Ok, this is going to sound hugely nerdy, but I’d love to have the time to properly figure out the mechanics of solid objects. I’d love to be able to develop my own simple physics engine, and understand the principles behind it, where two dimensional objects rotate and move around subject to various different forces and impacts. I’m almost embarrassed telling you that one.

7) Have I changed my mind recently about something I once strongly believed? Yes, actually. I used to be a fervent believer in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test – you know, ESTP and INTJ etc. Well, it turns out that it’s complete bunkum. Neither Myers nor Briggs had much of a basis for the underlying philosophy of the MBTI and there are much sounder tests of personality around.

That’s seven things. You can wake up now!

via europa.eu

via europa.eu

 

 1989. What a year.

Tiananmen Square. The Salman Rushdie affair. Exxon Valdez. Poll Tax in the UK. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. Solidarity winning the Polish elections. The flight of people into the West from Hungary. The freeing of the Guildford Four. The end of the Berlin Wall. The Velvet Revolution. The fall of Ceaucescu.

In one mere year the world had changed utterly. 

It was like that in my life too. In 1989 I turned 21. I was in my last year in college, I got my driving license and I travelled to the USA for the first time, on a wonderful four-month work visa in Ohio. A year later and I had a major career decision made – one that influences what I do to this day. I would be in Belfast, doing some real work, gaining new friends, traveling to far flung places and looking upon life with a very different set of beliefs compared to the preceeding decades. 

What is truly odd is how recent it still feels to me. As if it were just yesterday. In a sense, I feel that little enough has changed about me since then. The things that enthused me then still occupy my mind now. I’m pretty sure that if I was blogging back then that I would be writing about much the same things as I write about now. If I were to write down my personal interests and fascinations, many of them would date back precisely to this period in my life. It’s as if a flowering took place then, and I have spent most of the rest of my life building upon its foundations. 

Of course I have changed in many ways. I know lots more. I understand myself better. I have much greater responsibilities. I know what love, loss and fatherhood means. I have had my setbacks, and I have learned to take them on the chin. There are a few more grey hairs, blotches and scars, but these are the inevitable external factors associated with the passing years. Deep down, I am essentially the same man who emerged from adolescence those twenty years ago. 

It’s scary. I strongly believe that  life is all about personal development and growth, and yet it’s stunning to observe how little my thinking has moved on since I first moved into adulthood. I’d like to feel that during the next 20 years (should I be lucky enough to experience them) that I can develop  myself in surprising and different ways. As I am learning however, this may be quite a formidable challenge.

%d bloggers like this: