Thursday, July 30, 2009


The kids and I read together each night: a story, then a poem, which is read each night of the week, and a from a daily devotional. Check out the link to the poem we recently read. Read it twice. Its a ballad. Sing when it says to sing. Sing the whole thing. Classic Poetry: Tom O'Bedlam (Anonymous Folk Song)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rabbithole (NOWBlog Part 2 or Paradox Part 2)

I write proposals for an engineering firm, advance the firm’s cause through a variety of marketing activity and sometimes provide administrative efforts. I work for Fay, Spofford & Thorndike. We are engineers for many aspects of transportation and environmental infrastructure and building facilities.

I’m more salesman, pitchman, MADMAN than what the AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) industry calls a marketer. Proposal writing isn’t marketing; its sales, and I offer a check or balance to the technical staff. The best proposals I have written have been well planned with collaboration from technical staff. My company sells an intangible service that creates tangible products like bridges and water treatment facilities. Engineering a road through any terrain is theoretical until the last bucket of concrete is set.

There is always more nuance to absorb, new clients to approach - internal and external. Personality, criteria and value-added differentiators to separate my firm from another is the proposal process. I manage or orchestrate a proposal with interest in the final product. I think the stuff my firm does is cool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I’ve been watching a living art project, One & Other, which is ongoing in Trafalgar Square in London on the Fourth Plinth. The Fourth Plinth is a pedestal that was meant as a tribute to King William IV. Due to insufficient funds, it has remained empty. Since 1999, the Royal Society of Arts has been commissioning art projects to be displayed on the plinth.

This project by sculptor Antony Gormley, will offer the space, currently in its third week, to a different person to occupy the Fourth Plinth every hour, 24 hours a day for 100 days without a break, to make the Plinth their own. The website streams each hour and provides some insight into the Plinther. I’ve seen a robot, an Elvis impersonator, a house cleaner, protesters, readers, writers, singers, photographers, artists, crowd pleasers/teasers/taunters, and boring people. This got me thinking.

If given one hour to do anything I want on an eight meter pedestal for the world to see, what would it be? Also, I’ve been contemplating the title, One & Other, since it seems simple to understand, but after glimpsing a few of the Plinthers, an interesting pairing of words.

The action of allowing unfettered access to Matt Hawk for one hour seems ludicrous. I don’t want that kind of access to myself, let alone giving myself away this vulnerable situation. I’ve written my obituary on several occasions in college as a writing exercise, and been asked to contemplate my legacy from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. These acts seem ridiculous to me, but the one I would prefer is standing on the plinth. It would be a true and undeniable representation of me. I would perform a day in the life.

More interesting to me is the title of the project, One & Other.
1) It neatly describes the concept of the project
2) It separates each plinther
3) Its a play on words that brings each Plinther and observers together

Thursday, July 2, 2009


This is a tough post because I criticize people that post comments to articles/op-eds and the status updaters on twitter, fb, et al. Posts tend to be anonymous or without accountability. There isn’t a neat way to have a discussion without sharing your crazy or being called crazy. Why let facts get in the way of an argument? Why bother with the facts since they can be skewed? There is no moral accountability in these mediums. Blogs too. I understand the absurdity.

The ongoing saga of the SC Governor, Mark Sanford is a good example of unchecked moralizing. What Mark Sanford did is wrong, but has anyone listened to his wife’s comments? Jenny Sanford, rather than the stand by your man Silda Spitzer and Hillary Clinton, has asked her husband to beat it until she can figure it out, while leaving the door open for reconciliation. The reconciliation may end in divorce, although her comments are hopeful and to the contrary.

Hateful words are used in posts to describe Mark Sanford, I concede he deserves some of it, but we all know people close to us that have gone through divorce. Do you pile on? Would you consider making a post on facebook about a friend going through a rough patch that criticizes their ability to handle the issue to your standards? I also concede that public figures should be criticized publicly. But the motherly expression, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,” is meaningless. Constructive criticism is what we give our children. Why does it stop?

On facebook, I know who you are, after all we’re friends. I’ve been a part of and witnessed some of the morally wrong and questionable actions perpetrated. Some of the status updates I read have traditionally been reserved for quiet, private moments where confidentiality is unwritten. People share their opinions and personal lives with reckless abandon, and I don’t like it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I called my wife.
“Hello,” she said.
“MJ is dead,” I said
“Michael Jackson?”
“Shut up. I have to turn on the TV. Kids, go play somewhere else, mummy has to watch the news, big news, Michael Jackson is dead.”
“I'm not surprised."
“But this is huge.”
“If he was Michael of the 80’s."
“Poor Farrah.”
I met up with some friends I used to work with and we didn’t spend much time on it. When MJ came up, it was replaced by other discussion. On the drive home I started dialing radio stations. I drove with the windows down. It was the first summer day. You could hear him from the other cars as traffic narrowed to one lane because of the paving operation. I wanted to hear “Billie Jean.”