Sand, Stuff and Blogging

May 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

I am new at blogging but you’re probably not picking that up quite yet! In fact, I have just become a blogger today!

Not surprisingly, “blogger” isn’t the answer that came up when I took the test in grade school that’s supposed to help determine what field we are best suited for: so you can plan early and don’t waste your money on college unnecessarily. Indeed, as my favorite writer, Mark Twain once said, “College has ruined many a good truck driver!” To better understand my responsibilities as a ‘blogger’, I looked it up in the dictionary. Blog is short for web log so it’s plainly, a log on the web: simple enough. Blogger then, is the person keeping the log on the web: in this case, me.

I then considered, what was a log exactly? Like a diary I suppose. I have never seen or kept a diary or a log but suddenly, Captain Kirk was in my head: “Ship’s Log, Star Date 20-09. After passing through the Greenspan Galaxy, my crew is anxiously awaiting the return of economic stability..!” I decided I would be The Blogger, Captain Kirk! But I became concerned with the possibility of an adverse Trekkie reaction, so I have chosen to be myself instead. It works fine enough most of the time. (Though when it was called for, I would be Captain Kirk, Captain Ahab and even Captain Kangaroo, but (most of) those days are in the past now.

By introduction, I am Matt Long, wood finisher, toy manufacturer, sand sculptor, amateur musician/songwriter, a dad….and now blogger, from West Brighton, Staten Island, New York. The hats I wear came with the usual price tags. I’ve owned and worked at a wood restoration business for thirty-five years (and still do) so I am no kid; but don’t try and prove it. I created a specialty toy for a niche market, Can You Dig It Sand Tools, some nine years ago, which has been big on awards, reviews and recognition, but short on return. I have played guitar most of my life, and though never professionally, once upon a time with my wife, Nina, earned money playing in local bars as a main source of income. In a strange twist of fate – Ok, that might be putting it a bit strong – more of a coincidence – I purchased my first guitar, a Martin D-18, with tip monies collected delivering the Staten Island Advance. I still play it. It looks bad but sounds great. I owe the Advance a song.

And most recently, within the last six years or so I have become a professional sand sculptor: a hobby-gone wild that I puttered at for some ten years prior to ‘turning pro’! It is sand sculpting that has taken me to some magnificent locations. It has given me the opportunity to meet a host of interesting people and even the chance to be a guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR Radio and Live With Regis and Kelly.

As I blog on sand sculpting will be a recurring topic: and why not? Hasn’t everything in the world been compared to sand sculpting at one time or another? Even Robert Altman when receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Awards stated, “Making a movie is like building a sand castle!” I don’t know about that? I don’t think Robert ever started a movie by shoveling ten tons of sand. And you can be sure that the converse of that statement isn’t true. In fact I am certain you will never hear a sand sculptor say anything to the effect of, “Carving a sand castle is just like making a movie!” Although we often dream of having a nice air-conditioned trailer beside our sand pits with catered food and cool drinks available during breaks! Kidding aside, (Something I will keep at a minimum) sand and sand castles are referenced all over this life as metaphors for time, quantity, intricacy, patience, infinity, hard work, and most especially the temporal nature of most anything. If I were to give this blog a name, it might be, “Sediment, The Thing From Which Lots of Stuff Comes…And Goes Again!”

Very soon, before beach season starts, I will blog about how to build a sand castle. There are tricks! I know them! And I will share them as best as words and a few photos will allow.

So my life as a blogger has begun simply and innocuously at the top of this page; my main qualification being an interest in writing stuff. I could be more specific, but ‘stuff’ pretty much covers it. I have been told that readers will have the chance to comment on my stuff. I look forward to that…I think!

I was born and raised on Staten Island. My first 23 years in I lived in Westerleigh, and the last 30 in West Brighton. My dad was NYPD and later self employed. My mom is a life master at the card game Bridge. My wife Nina owned a Children’s Bookstore in West Brighton for 13 years and remains active in children’s literacy and I have three special daughters: all of them my favorites. Things have changed here on our island, but it’s home and I like it. Though we are one of the five boroughs, we still live in the shadow of the greatest city in the world. But remember it’s always cool in the shade! I am looking forward to this new writing experience. I thank The Staten Island Advance for the opportunity and I thank you for spending some time.

by Matt Long / Community Blogger

Staten Island Advance


Entry filed under: Get Wet, Public Waterfront, Staten Island. Tags: , .

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