Sunday, September 14, 2008

What's with the title?

I know, it seems like a weird title to me, too. But there are some good reasons for it.

The simplest one is that my first choice was taken: poking the bear. Although I first heard the expression a few months ago --actually I was told by one commenter that my personality fits the bear poker-- it seems to be an old enough expressions to have at two different blogs on this site alone involving bear poking.

But adversity, small though it is, affords opportunity. Changing for the better and crossing the divisions which separate people and quash ideals involves breaking through barriers, poking them, if you will.

Thus the inspiration behind the title. Poking the barrier between truth and delusion, civilization and libertinism, a culture of death and a culture of lifel My hope is that, if someone reads my blog long enough, eventually even the most dye-in-the-wool idealogue will find something they like enough to open their minds and the most easy going tolerance monger will find something they will hate enough to show that they aren't as tolerant as they think they are.

This may be a tall order, but, remember, I'm only poking the barrier. I'm not arrogant as to believe myself worthy to break the barrier.

Of course, along the way, I am also going to blog sports, religion, race relations, and child rearing. Hey, I'm not that pretentious.

So, why a blog?

The truth of the matter is that I've been procastinating in starting my blog. I have several good reasons, too.

Simply, I have a life. I work. I'm married. I have a son. I have church duties. I have volunteer work. All of these things take time.

Also, I'm not that good at writing. I'm good at organizing my thoughts, but the words often escape me. There's plenty of poorly written blogs out there already. I don't want to add to the dint.

Finally, I just didn't think I had anything to say that anyone wanted to read.

But some simple moments in my life changed my opinions. None of them amount to a Damascus Road conversion, but they amount to slow conversion to putting my thoughts on my own forum. If other people want to follow it, great; if not, well, that's their choice.

As to my life, other people told me that they wish I told them more often what was happening in my life. Now, I could spend hours on the phone calling people --something I loathe. I could send hundreds of e-mails, clogging other people's in-boxes as much as my own is. I could get on Facebook and Twitter --which I done-- for those few people who are already on those social networking cites. Or I could start a blog.

As to my writing, my composition professor taught that the more you write you better you can write, emphasis on "can." As much as I still think myself not effective at this, I am going to hope that, with time, my writing will improve to the point of cogency.

As to having anything to say, what changed my opinion was, well, reading other blogs, including blogs from professional bloggers. When I saw how bad other blogs were written, including well followed blogs from paid bloggers, it dawned on me. "Self," I said to myself, "I can do better than these jokers." So let's see if I right. At worst, it's a diary that my son will grow up to what was on his father's mind back before he could talk.

I hope others enjoy the blog. If not, I hope I piss you off enough to comment --angry people always comment more.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The positive influence that the Bryant Park Project has had on my life

I miss the The Bryant Park Project. I miss the blog. I miss the BPP staff. Certainly, the BPP staff misses the show far more than an audience member like me ever could. Though, I must say this: the show has had at least one lasting positive effect on my life, an effect that presented itself at work.

You see, as an engineer, I'm used to working around people with poor social skills. While my social skills may not make me very popular by normal society's standards, I am regular social butterfly compared to other engineers. My co-workers are usually blunt, gruff, and awkward, and that's when they're nice. Anyway, as part of the job, I needed to have some lab equipment moved from one building to another. So I sent an e-mail to the property manager, but, instead of some terse statement about moving, I wrote, "Would you please send some of your esteemed professional movers to help me at this moment of dire need?"

Esteemed professional movers. Not movers, not just professional movers, but esteemed professional movers. When the esteemed professional movers came (or E.P.M.'s as I like to call them), the crew chief thanked me for the e-mail and told me that he's hanging it up and framing it.Were it not for the BPP and NPR's Esteemed Science Correspondent Robert Krulwich, I would have never gotten that positive response.

I hope other people have had something like that happen for them.