Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Brief History of a blog entry

I’ll be honest. I have felt like crap the last week. I haven’t been able to put together a coherent string of thoughts, much less a complete blog entry. Every time I have gotten started on a topic, my bad mood has just taken over and it’s spiraled into a pit of negativity. Maybe it was because all the topics I was thinking about related to local politics.

It started on a Monday.

Actually it was a Sunday. It started with the vibrating of a cell phone. “The blog is up. You have one week.” Finally my time to shine had arrived. Since the idea of a group blog had been presented, ideas had been drifting through my head. Alas, it was Sunday, and I was mildly hung over, and the Steelers were playing that night. Not a day to do much.

Monday I decided that my entry would be about the stupidity of the North Shore connector of the T. I came to the coffee shop following a shortened workday and hunkered down to do some serious research. Most of the research consisted post-gazette.com articles and letters to the editor. Opinions were generally split between two camps.

1.) This is a stupid idea that should be changed.
2.) This is a stupid idea, but we can’t change it or we lose the federal funding, so quit whining and accept it. If you didn’t like it you should have done something 8 years ago when it was initially brought up.

I won’t go deeply into my opinions because they are convoluted at their best and resort to childish name calling at their worst. One quote that just keeps going through my head is “A town with money is kind of like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows where he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it.” That conveniently comes from the monorail episode of the Simpsons. Anyway, needless to say the more I read, the more frustrated I got, and the less I wanted to discuss this topic.

By Tuesday I had decided that the smoking ban would be an excellent discussion topic. The Mount Washington Pipe Club and Brain Trust has discussed this extensively as has everybody else. The hard part of this topic is expanding my firm basic opinion beyond extending my support for the bill as it was passed by the Allegheny county council. There should be no indoor smoking in public places. This is the direction the country is going in, and Pittsburgh can either show some initiative and join in early, or bicker about details for a couple of years until a state or national law is in effect. Despite the recent progression, I still don’t have much faith that the latter won’t become what happens. But again that discussion would just sound negative.

By Wednesday I was thinking about just writing some tersely worded letters to Lawrenceville officials about dangerous driving spots near my house. The main problem with that is that it really isn’t interesting to anybody. Not even to me, the writer.

By Thursday I had slipped into procrastination mode and actually chose to do work and exercise to avoid thinking about topics to write.

Friday was the weekend. Time to party. I’d earned it.

Saturday I went to a wedding and was to busy eating and drinking and doing poor Mick Jagger impersonations to get anything done.

Sunday was a necessary day of recovery, accompanied by a dominant Steelers victory. That put an end to my dreams of writing an entry about firing Cowher, starting Charlie Batch, and basically rehashing every stupid argument I’ve heard on Pittsburgh sports talk radio of how to solve the Steelers problems.

Monday I decided to just do a brief recap of ideas of the past week. That, which is this, still didn’t come out so well. Oh well, a blog should be more about opening up topics for discussion than a direct display of opinions.


evan said...

tom, good work on the blog. thanks for putting it up despite your unsuccessful attempts at picking a topic. people were starting to get tense.

anyways, one comment is all i have. i have to disagree with the blanket statement you made at the end of the blog. it seems to me that a blog is a rather open ended medium and direct displays of opinion are just as acceptable as topics of discussion. i think either one would facilitate open debate within the blog format.

Heath said...

I do not share all of your negative sentiments toward the North Shore connector. I think a classy town like the 'burgh deserves all of the commuter amenities it is able to procure. While a sub-river connector seems unnecessary regarding travel to PNC park, there is no good pedestrian avenue to Heinz field. Solved!

My gripe stems from the unbelievably narrow vision of the proposal. Pittsburh, as I've said, deserves top-notch pub-trans, though this will never be realized until there is a rail line that accesses the East end of the city. For that matter the Southside deserves such 'luxuries' as well. When I'm in charge...