Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An Explanation

I am going to pull my blog entry about the Tritan Trumpets just as soon as I post this entry, but lest the rumors start flying as to why I did, and whether I was trying to hide anything or shamed into it by another blogger, I thought I would give an explanation. First let me make perfectly clear that it has nothing to do with the flap over what another certain blogger said about me or that entry. If I was going to pull it for that reason, I never would have posted her comment in the first place, and I wouldn't have waited all day to do it.

I got a call today from Mike Tripp, someone that I have respected from afar for a while now. I know Mike to say hi to him if I see him in public, and we occasionally run into each other either going in or coming out of a dive. But we have never really sat down and talked and gotten to know each other. He said he wanted to talk about my blog entry today, so I knew it had something to do with the controversial Tritan Trumpet blog, someone else's reaction to it, and my response to their attack. We talked about generalities for a while, then got down to the reason we were having this face to face chat. I don't know how long Mike has been diving, but I assume it's quite a while, since he is a dive instructor now. You will find that different divers have different points of view on what is acceptable and what is not, just as 3 different attorney's will give you 3 different perspectives on laws if you ask them. That's ok, most people understand there are other points of view out there, and maintain a live and let live attitude for the sake of harmony. Even when you don't agree and feel strongly about it, there are ways to get your point across that are acceptable and others that will just make the other person bristle and alienate you as a result.

I got certified to dive way back in 1974, and things were vastly different back then. Part of the certification course actually had a section on spearfishing with scuba. It was just considered a way to put a meal on the table back then and nobody thought anything about it. Mike and I discussed this for a while and I admitted I'm a diving dinosaur in many respects. I have had to learn many things since I became certified, since attitudes have changed over the years, and so much more is known about the environment now and various impacts on it. I have talked to various dive shop owners about taking some of the new courses and learning all the latest techniques, but it always seems to come down to them wanting thousands of dollars for a bunch of different courses, and then they want me to be a Dive Master and take their tourists out for them. They don't want to pay me anything for it, but have offered to give me free air fills for it. Thanks but no thanks. Mike told me that's why many people refer to PADI, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors as "Put Another Dollar In". I can totally understand that since that seems to be the only attitude I've ever gotten from any of them. So needless to say, I've never taken any newer courses. It's not like I need to be reminded how to dive, since I dive as much as many of the instructors and dive guides.

Anyway, Mike gently said that he also had concerns when he read my entry on the Tritan Trumpets, although not necessarily the same one that was mentioned in the other blog. He said he was concerned that some youngsters or other people who might get into diving might think that because of my story it is ok to take any shell they wanted and would use me as a benchmark or role model. He also said that because of my position he felt that there are a certain number of people out there who may look to me as a sort of authority on diving since I talk about it so much and have posted so many pictures and stories. Mike said that he also felt my radio presense played into it as I have many people listening to me and following whatever I say. He said that with such a privilege also comes a responsibility to make sure that I'm not letting anyone get the wrong idea. What he said made total sense to me, and I told him that I hadn't thought of that aspect of it, and would pull my blog entry as a result. Amazing what you can accomplish talking over a glass of wine like two reasonable, civilized people.

I did read the references in the other blog that was attacking me, and I'll admit I learned a lot from them. But if you are truly trying to educate and not just castigate, you take Mike's approach, not the other blogger's approach. She was trying to humiliate me and make an example out of me. And in spite of a lame apology, she continued to drag it through the mud instead of just letting it quietly go away. I am a reasonable person, and if you try talking to me and expressing your concerns or educating me in a polite manner, you will get favorable results. But if you steal my pictures and publicly attack and attempt to humiliate me, you will be cut off and ignored from that point forward.

So thanks Mike, I truly appreciate your taking the time to call me and then meet to discuss things face to face. And with that, the previous post will now disappear once and for all.

As for resuming my blog, at this point my heart still really isn't in it. I appreciate all of your comments and encouragement and they turned a totally crappy day into something salvagable. To Shazam, I feel bad about not posting the fish ball pictures here, but you can still see them if you go to my smugmug site. www.saipandiver.smugmug.com go to the underwater gallery and then click on dive pics. Just look through a page or two until you see them, they should be fairly close to the top.

I'll still be diving, but for now I think the dives are going to have to stay in my memory banks. I may eventually change my mind, but it will have to wait until my heart is back in it again. Thanks for your understanding.

To Blog or Not To Blog

I had a bunch of cool pictures from the big fish ball that I was going to post on my blog today, but now I don't really want to put them up. It seems I've unintentionally stirred up a hornets nest from my post about the Tritan Trumpet shells and the hermit crabs. That was never my intention, I thought they were cool pictures that someone else might enjoy. But then I was attacked in another blog because I evicted the crabs from the shells. Unlike other certain bloggers, I really don't care about how many hits a day I get, I'm not trying to drive advertising dollars or attract anything like that. Sure, I put a thing for AdSense on my site to see if it did anything, but I never expected it to, and frankly didn't really care if it did or not. I also don't use my blog as anything controversial to get hits, I don't put links to naked celebrities as a means to try and drive up my own viewer numbers. That just doesn't matter to me.

I started my blog as a way for anyone that might know me, and who might have been interested to keep up with me and see what I've been up to and to read my thoughts and observations on things. I also thought some people might enjoy seeing underwater pictures of things they would never have a chance to see in real life, and they may not see pictures like this anywhere else if they didn't look specifically for them. I am not who most people think I am. They have a preconceived idea of who I am and what I'm like from my radio presence. I do have some definite thoughts and opinions about things, but if you think you know me from the radio, you're mistaken.

I did my blog as a release, a way for me to share some of the things I enjoy and to get away from some of the controversies and arguments I seem to be embroiled in during my day job. It was fun, I enjoyed posting the dive pics, getting feedback from people I'd never met who loved seeing the ocean through my camera lense. Today, my blog has ceased being fun for me, and has turned into something controversial. Believe it or not but I really don't need anymore controversy in my life. And if I no longer enjoy the blog, or have to worry every time I say anything or post a picture that someone is going to object and blast me for it, then why bother?

As I was about to post the pictures of the fish ball at Lau Lau, I started wondering if I'd be criticized for being in the middle of the fish ball. Even though the fish came toward me and surrounded me, did I somehow throw off the natural balance of things? Did I traumatize the fish by taking too many pictures? Did the flash from the camera cause any kind of vision impediment to the fish, either short term or long term? I know this may sound ridiculous, but to me it's no more ridiculous than the controversy that came out of my previous post. And if I have to worry and wonder every time I post anything or say anything, then I'm better off not bothering in the first place.

So there will be no dive pics today, or possibly any other day for that matter, I'm still thinking about it. I'm also seriously considering making my smugmug dive picture gallery private as well just to avoid any further controversy. It's a sad day for me, I had really enjoyed blogging up to this point.