Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Name Game

I changed the name of my blog today. It used to be called “A Pirate Looks at 60,” a Jimmy Buffett reference. The name didn’t really fit except possibly the age part. Suddenly, today, the right name became obvious to me, and thank you Google for making it so easy to change.

I started blogging on this site in 2009. Prior to that I wrote a lot of long essays on Facebook using the FB “Notes.” I had several goals in mind for the blog. As I wrote in my first blog, “Getting Started:"

“I don't know if what I have to say will be of any interest to anyone but my wife, and I can see her yawning now, so that may not even be true. Still it is fun to write it even if no-one ever reads it.”

“I have a particular perspective on life. You may agree or disagree with what I write. I read in the local paper today, in a letter to the editor, a Tom Waits quote, "If both of us think exactly the same thing, then one of us is unnecessary." That's good. I like that. So welcome to my opinions, and feel free to disagree and call me a jerk. I won't take it personally.”

I didn’t know what to name the blog. Since introspection and a source material for a memoir were on my mind, and since retirement was on the horizon and it was a time in a man’s life when he thinks back over the road he has trod, then the “Pirate” quote seemed appropriate.

I’ve been a fan of that Buffett song for many, many years, and we played it in about every jam band I’ve ever played with, so it worked. It was only later that I learned that Jimmy himself had titled his autobiography “A Pirate Looks at 50.” So it wasn’t really as personal as I would like. I never really thought it worked for me.

I also wrote in that first blog:

“I love music and science and technology and family and nature. So I expect to write about all of those topics and more. I've spent a lot of years in education teaching at a private technical school, a state college, and as an IBM instructor. So some of my posts may be tutorials. They won't be on the exam, and everyone gets an 'A,' so hang in there.”

Over these last four years my writing has covered those topics as promised and even a bit more. There has been a couple of attempts at fiction short stories, a song, and even a comedy routine.

I often spoke of the acronym “STEM” which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Those are the core subjects of my life and studies. You mostly see that acronym in reference to education or possibly career choices during this time of great unemployment.

But time has past and my view has shifted yet again. I am still a big fan of STEM, but I also have come to realize more and more how important Art and Design are, especially when coupled with STEM.

The final turning point was when I read Steve Job’s recent biography by Walter Isaacson. I had so enjoyed his book on Einstein, and still need to write more about that topic, but in the Jobs story I realized fully the integration with those two concepts.

Sometimes they are considered disjoint, but I view them as integral. A new acronym began to appear in my writing: “STEAMD.” That includes Art and Design with STEM. I didn’t invent this new acronym. Others are realizing what I now understand.

Suddenly, this morning, it dawned on me that that was the appropriate title for my blog: "STEAMD." That is, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, and Design. Certainly STEAMD is a short phrase.

I hope my writing has improved. Certainly practice is good for any Art, be it guitar or singing or painting or writing. Oddly my photography and video work has received more comment, awards, and even some monetary remuneration. So far my writing has been amateur in every sense of the word. I do have a goal of publishing.

This, of course, is published, but I mean in the more common sense of the word. Plus, a little remuneration would boost my spirits and my bank account too. Of course, I could set up a PayPal account and you all could just donate. Perhaps you could bribe me to keep quiet. In any case, it’s all good.

“I don't know if I'm talking to anyone, or just myself. But enjoy what I write if that is possible and add your comments. I love questions and talking, so keep those cards and letters coming.” That was one of the last paragraphs in my first blog.

I have not had much luck with that. I know people are reading my writing, but I get damn few comments. Wish I could get more. I would love to converse on these topics, but – if you gentle readers don’t write back – then it is a monolog that you’ll get.

As I closed the original post, “I don't think I qualify as a Pirate since I'm a chronic rule follower, but it is fun to pretend.” Now I don’t have to pretend any more.

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