Movement and Its Parts

On any given summer day @ the onset of sunset, an ice cream truck drives through NELA [North East Los Angeles].

So too, in NYC .

In NELA; the anticipatory experience of ice cream involves a melody, calling young and old, to its cool, melt-able magic —and is intermittently interrupted by the parrot-inspired, persistent sing-song :  “Hello! Hello!”

 Perhaps, I will become accustomed to it.  But so far, I prefer the Mister Softee tune; that audio track of my childhood which brings to the fore those occasions when I succeeded at locating my mother for the sole purpose of obtaining ice cream money.

 I was not always successful.  My Woodside, Queens block sometimes put me at a disadvantage.  If I was, for instance, at Elizabeth Villa’s house and the Mister Softee truck appeared at the other end of the block; I had a fair distance to cover.

Bolting from Elisabeth’s house, across the street to mine, required time enough,  but continuing on to reach the truck before it left the block, was in and of itself, its own unknown; mostly, at  that time, powered by the geometries of my mother’s mind, mood and generosity.

Measuring  differences, assessing truths, even at  the level of ice cream — between NELA and New York City, as I have done,  mindful, of my geo-tagged, migratory struggle;  whereby, certain sunsets, say Friday’s of Eagle Rock / Highland Park appear—  call attention to how things are — And how they are not.

Beyond its demarcation in time, the sunset I underscore was special because of its proximity to my new home — Los Angeles.

A  New Yorker like me does not go the distance, enough to begin again in a city like Los Angeles, without drawing upon one’s imagination and discernment.  Dissimilar in tone, layout, attitude, vibe, fauna; the conversation I have been having with myself as my LA roots take shape, has in part, been fueled by this question:  How much of the New Yorker within me will remain intact?

Charting a future course; a direction, distinctly our own is reliably fraught with difficulties.  Paired with our wildest imaginings, we are faced with certain truths about ourselves.   If we are willing, we ask questions, inwardly.   Sometimes, in thinking about our future, we give an accounting of where we’ve been.

One of those recent recollections concerns a summer past, when ice cream trucks were part of my after- 5:00 milieu:

Absent federal funding, the Summer Work Training Program at Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine would terminate; our lives; our sense of Identity, spilling out into the ethos of New York City.

At once catalyzed, transformed by the reach of government, we would also know, unequivocally, our share of its potency along the metrics of its absence.

Rusk held weight.  It was an anchor for my parents; full of rehabilitative specialists eager to service their daughter.  With every visit, my reservoir of rehabilitative medicine grew; I became ever more [as my medical files fattened] ‘functional’.

At Rusk, I had been assessed, examined, probed, questioned; all for what set me apart.

Rooted were we at Rusk, our Disability real if not to ourselves then to the eyes of government-backed administrators tasked with assessing qualifying categories along the spectrum of physical difference and ability.

Consciousness had come.   I was emboldened by knowing my body in a way I had not previously.  There was to be, for instance, no more negotiating my belonging.  There was a word for me:  Handicapped.

It was a belonging borne from the normative:
Two hands —Two feet.
Not me.

Beyond the perimeter of my flesh, the limitations I would forever face, whatever they were, by any normative measure, had taken on a charge.   Categorically, I was actionable.
My new-found self-awareness set my consciousness in motion — it was a defining summer of inward growth having everything to do with exterior facts.    So too, has this season been.

This blog’s intent, from its beginnings, has been to encourage its readers to examine the range and impact of technology and innovation on human life.   New York City, my long-time home, has been a significant and vibrant palette; where I have often perceived the discipline of Anthropology to be helpful when capturing images, reaching for nuances, distilling differences and telling stories.

The terrain will be different in Los Angeles [and its environs] but my purpose remains steadfast.


The Poetics of "Smart"

Poet J. Nicole submits to a conversation about the intersection of poetry and technology.

Mobile Thievery

It is the mark of the mobile-enhanced urban commuter:  Holding one’s smart-phone to check email, listen to music, play games, tweet or whatever else our electronic impulses desire.

We are especially vulnerable in this realm of mobility; this zone of ‘zoning out.’

Our use of gadgets takes its toll on our concentration; our focus wanes which is why, for example, the e-cocktail of driving while texting can be and is so deadly.

But there are moments of seeming ‘safety’ — Like in the case of being a passenger, in a car, bus, plane or train. 

What is the harm, one may ask, in a bit of mobile-based immersion when the navigation systems are not yours to manage; when the wheel is not yours to turn?  The risk of harm, it so happens is directly proportional to the perceived value of your mobile device.

I learned that lesson yesterday, while riding the train from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

The young woman: Absorbed in her iPhone.

The young man [standing by the train doors]: Attentive to the young woman’s iPhone.  So attentive, he tried to grab it from her just before the doors closed @ a station stop.

The phone flew in my direction; hitting the floor @ my feet.  Meanwhile, he ran like lightning.

Enter Emily Dickinson:

Within my reach!
I could have touched!
I might have chanced that way
. . . Too late for striving fingers
That passed, an hour ago!


The couple [see right] walked into the train together; both looking content, pleased by the Other's company.  I was drawn to the color-contrast of His hat/headphones].  We rode the train together for nearly 20 minutes --- with her head cradled by her hand [gizmo-free] while he sat absorbed by Audio/Visual in the palm of his hand.

Brown-bagging It.

Paper Delivery

There is a long-standing rift between Marxists and Capitalists.  Most acute is the din on certain campuses where academic liberty/freedom breeds a germane latitudinal orientation most potent among and between students and faculty.

In Western Massachusetts ---  in the Pioneer Valley [home to my undergraduate alma mater Mount Holyoke College][ and several other generators of intellect, thought and debate] a remnant known [in its day] as the Paper City ---  Holyoke, Massachusetts invites such a debate/discussion while it awaits to be re-born.

Holyoke is an industrial archaeologist's delight.  And time is @ a premium.

The industrial look-and-feel --- which i relish [in a strict architectural sense] reminds the casual observer of the workers who once labored and the wages earned.

 Look hard.  "Progress," "Innovation," "Technology" shall take hold and forever change Holyoke's vitality, flavor and spirit.

Reversing Cursive Course

 there are those who worry
 we will forget how to write with a pen/pencil/crayon [choose].
 "Our future is mobile!" say the futurists; those in the now; those in the 'know'
but what is their knowing?  Cannot we handle all of it?  We'd best practice to not forget.

e-Reader Lunches

Kindle on a bed-of-lettuce with Coke.

Private: Keep Confidential

"Confidentiality is one of the core tenets of medical practice."

So asserts the University of Washington Medical School. "Yet daily, physicians face challenges to this long-standing obligation to keep all information between physician and patient private."

In my free-associative state --- when 'confidentiality' or 'confidential' is my linguistic launch pad; 'privacy' or what i hope to be 'private' is --- top of mind --- like a top-level-domain.

But my mind suffers from a kind of e-dissonance ---- locked and loaded --- Even stream-of-consciousness it turns out --- is a 21st Century art form complicated by desire, expectation, need, relevancy.

Can Kafka help me?

Stanford University asserts: "The term “privacy” is used frequently in ordinary language as well as in philosophical, political and legal discussions, yet there is no single definition or analysis or meaning of the term. The concept of privacy has broad historical roots in sociological and anthropological discussions about how extensively it is valued and preserved in various cultures. Moreover, the concept has historical origins in well known philosophical discussions, most notably Aristotle's distinction between the public sphere of political activity and the private sphere associated with family and domestic life. Yet historical use of the term is not uniform, and there remains confusion over the meaning, value and scope of the concept of privacy."

"Does anyone really expect to have privacy anymore? Seriously?" says a Blackberry-toting West Coast source.

Assume a physician takes a call on her smart-phone. Assume she is riding the train when she takes that call.

How confident can she be of her ability to uphold her patient's privacy?


auld lang audio

Should old tunes be forgot,
and never brought to ear?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my ear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of audio yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you'll buy your ear bud!
And surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o'Pandora yet,
for auld lang syne