Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hmm, Is This Thing On?

If you are a long time reader of this blog, if there is anyone left out there to read this blog, you will know that it is now time for my annual “I’m back” and my “I’m going to really post more often’ speeches. And, quite rightfully too I may adde, you would in real life “Laugh Out Loud’ and say “Right Ranger, whatever”. And I’d do the same if I saw this post from your side of the screen. Except, this time I’m sorta kinda really going to do the “more posting” thing. And here’s why.
After 10 years of being a Government Drone I found that sitting down and creating a long winded report on just about anything was easy. The state of Braille Drivers, the fun that was a new operating system’s lack of access, the ride in on the bus, you name it, I could write a memorandum of understanding around 5 pages or more in Aerial point 12 on matters with very little thought about doing it … and consequentially put into the content as well. In my defense, I was trained to do so by other Government types. There may have been a natural predilection to doing so, but the spark was refined by those “in the know”. Refined? Okay it was honed by those who taught me how to be a public employee. Yet years of experience in the field of that writing style did give me the ignition point to start this little’ol blog. To every cloud and all that.
Nonetheless, I found when I left my old job, that the fire and the desire to blog was diminished and replaced with my long gestating need to podcast. After all, I was a Radio Communications guy in my first vocational career and talking over typing was always more my non button down shirt speed. And it required less spell checking. And it came with a more relaxed dress code. And a whole lot of access to hot looking people in the music industry. Anyway, it was a long time ago and all those damaging photos have been destroyed. By me, before the days of Geocities and ransomware were perfected.
Ahem, back to my story, micro blogging [a term now replaced by a dozen others in the Social Media sphere] was awesome. It was easy to do from just about anywhere and it allowed for more immediate interactions with my readers. Which is odd because in general, I tend not to want to do the social thing as much in the so called real world. Regardless, the pull of Twitter was way too strong and I found that I could keep most of my minor musings down to a series of 140 characters. Then, the original thought behind this blog now realized, I could be quicker in passing along interesting and somewhat relevant content about the things I covered here in just a matter of clicks and copy/pastes. Woo Hoo! It was what I always wanted and it was, for many who really know me offline and hoped I’d be more, concise. A trait I imagine some who listen to podcasts I’m on would wish I could emulate from time to time on various soapbox topics that do mor than “wake the dragon” [Game Of Thrones quote implied].
The concept of doing a traditional blog post, yeah I just used those words right next to one another, just didn’t come together as easy as it once had after jumping off to the adventurous world of things like Twitter and the 6 month dalliance I had with Facebook. By the way, a pox on you and yours mark SuckerBerge. Cough, cough.
Gone were my needs to roll on in seven thousand words of prose about this or that and the deficiencies or advantages of this or that. Not to mention, written words tend to live longer on the interwebs of today and they are searchable too. Generally, people let you slide a bit more when you get things wrong in podcasting. Unless you are in a room full of avid listeners and they’ve barred the door for the next hour. Then, magically, people’s memories for your mistakes will far outweigh your own abilities to remember that comment you may or may not have made about bar code scanners you might have offhandedly said when trying to be semi worldly on the matter six months and almost one hundred recorded hours later from saying aforementioned bar code comment that really should have been edited for time originally. As I said, generally people are more cool about audio mistakes where as written ones can haunt you. Side note, I’ve gone back and deleted all the positive comments I made about Windows Vista. Like anything after Battlestar Galactica’s fourth season, be it all forgotten and not remembered. Although, there is a joke in there about Windows 8 and the BSG phrase “all this has happened before”. But I’m not making it here. Or, am I?
While I still enjoy the Twitter and Podcasting thing, a lot, my lack of recreational writing ran me into a honest to goodness brick wall when it came to having to write something for a non work related request. I was quite stumped and literally at a “loss for words”. Again, snicker away you beloved long time readers and listeners, at my aging inability to fire my neurons. Time catches up with us all.
My old reliable thought provoking tricks of enjoying some relaxing heavy metal music, reading a semi interesting book about an unrelated subject, downing a pot of really good coffee, a long walk, none of it clicked. Thankfully the white noise of the isolation chamber, you may also know this as “the bathroom shower”, allowed me to reach a mental plateau above the crazy mental blocks on my path to writing nirvana. But what I came away with was a profound and deep residing sense of shock that when I needed a base hit, not a home run, I couldn’t even manage to tap in a bunt [I’ve moved on to sports metaphors and sorry to those who only get my Sci Fi/Fantasy ones]. I frankly had let my skills lapse when it came to escapist writing and I’m sure it was tied to stress and lack of real world practice of writing 7 pages on the importance of User Interface Guideline changes. As silly as it is, doing that kind of writing kept my other skills sharp in the same way that podcasting is reviving all my old intuitions about broadcast scheduling and program flow.
Therefore, as some sort of personal self-actualized epiphany at the base of Maslow’s pyramid, I realized that I really do need to get back into the batting cage and take a swing at a few pitches [still on the sports stuff]. I have to experiment a bit and try a few things. Look down some dark corners and see where it all takes me. I’m, by self-admission, a bit of a compulsive person who likes to ride the pendulum of extremes to find the balance and middle ground. Its why I’m so contrarian at times. I want to throw out an off the wall viewpoint to see what others think. So while I will still lean on Twitter and podcasting first, I need to come back here and dabble.
I don’t know what I’ll write about. I’m not sure it will be any good. I can’t promise it will be about Assistive Technology at times. And I hope to get better at doing the writing thing as I lace up my shoes and pick up that Louisville Slugger. I just hope I don’t end up with a Golden Crown of my own [back to Game of Thrones references again].
If you want to come along for this odd journey, please keep your slates and styluses in the car at all times. If you want to just follow in order to make a countdown clock to the day I again fess up that I’ve not blogged here in forever, put five bucks down on my guess for December 30th 2013. Betting opens on February 1st. This year we’re accepting Google Wallet. It’s a trial thing, don’t get used to it.
Before I go, warning authentic podcast plug imminent, I’m extremely proud of all our SeroTalk podcasts. I’m especially proud of two series that hold a personal place in my heart. I say publicly that “End of Line” is a show I wanted to do. It’s a fun walk around the day to day conversations I have with Ricky Enger and, when we have time to do the show, it’s a true window on who I am offline. Plus it proves to my mother that all those years of Science Fiction devotion weren’t for nothing. The surprising number of downloads also prove that “we are not alone’ in our crazy desires when it comes to food, books, TV and music either. If you haven’t already, and if you are even mildly curious about who I am outside the industry, chek out the show. And if not, then just run through the show note links as there is enough there to keep you entertained for hours.
If “End of Line’ is a show I wanted to do, then “High Contrast” is a show I had to do. For many years I lived in denial about my vision loss. I did much to avoid facing it and I did even more in doing silly things to put up a good front. Time really does bring wisdom along shotgun with it in the Taxi Cab of life. And this series lets me help tell stories about what it is like to have to straddle the line between sight and no usable vision. I’m incredibly grateful to have Maurie, Jeremy and Rodney on the show as each have brought their own experiences to the program in unique ways. We weren’t sure what we had at first, but now we are really exploring some amazing topics and themes. If you need a great example of this, check out maurie’s discussions on treatments for her eye condition as I think her story may be inspiring to many who have questions about the consideration of restoration procedures.
I’ll be back with my version of the Top Ten Stories of AT for 2012 shortly. But as an act of contrition, and to make things look a little more modern, I’ve updated some of the links on the sidebar with new sites and stuff I’m enjoying at the moment.

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