Category: writing and blogging

Representation

I wonder how different the psyche of the next generation is going to be with lifelong exposure to services provided by computers and technology.  The high level of technological involvement in daily dependency developed entirely within a single generation (half-generation really.  According to current life expectancy data, I am 5% shy of the halfway mark.  I was born into a world where computers were very new and very far from daily integration.  Cassette tapes held music, the telephone is still tethered to the wall, and the internet has yet to be invented.)

What I find fascinating is that voice control, internet speed, and availability is teaching children the important lesson about the representation of things unseen.  This is a hard lesson to grasp- how something can stand in for another thing.   A concept that takes a long time for humans to understand, practice, and eventually apply organically.  The representation doesn’t have to look or feel like the real thing for us to inherently understand this concept of simplified symbolism.

With this lesson already learned and applied at a young age, I wonder how this early involvement with abstract thinking will evolve in the psyche of the next generation.  Will abstract concepts in general be are easier to extrapolate?  Will art be more prevalent since the concept of representation is so well understood? How will this shift in consciousness affect religion?  Can we culturally be more accepting of other people with a broader range of understanding?

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Times, They Change

I am reading an old copy of Graham Greene’s “Getting to Know the General.”  Unlike most of Greene’s work as a storyteller, this is a biography about a certain Osmar Torrijos, a Panamanian leader during the time of negotiating the ownership of the Panama Canal with the United States.

This copy of “Getting to Know the General” is raggedy, it feels as if is going to fall apart in my hands.  I am afraid to open it too wide for fear that the pages are going to fall from the binding like oak leaves in autumn.  The front cover looks like it had a fierce battle with a pair of scissors, gingerly hanging onto the book’s spine.  The once white pages have been replaced with the familiar yellow-brown fade along the outside edges. It smells properly just how an old book should smell.

Thumbing through the book, I find some additions from the publisher that make the copy seem ancient.  In the first pages of the book, there is a line stating that the publisher offers bulk discounts for “sales promotions, premiums, or fundraising.”  For details, you write a letter to the Vice President of Special Markets in New York, New York. No telephone number is given, just an address.

The last 4 pages of this book are mail order forms to buy new books.  There is a page for Graham Greene, 2 other related authors, and page of books appealing to the subject matter of “Getting to Know the General” labeled “Presidents, Primates & Pundits.”  You check the boxes next to the books you want, and along with the price listed next to each book, you add 75 cents per order for postage.  Write your check for the calculated amount, and mail the order to New York.  If the order is over 10 dollars, you can fill in your credit card information.  Expect delivery in 6 weeks.

I thought that I had stumbled on a time portal.  I thought that with this book I was glancing far back in time, a time before I was even conceptualized, a time when maybe my mother was a small child.  As it turns out, this copy was just as young as me.

The year this book was printed was 1984 and I was 1 year old.  “Computer” was a word that did not exist yet.

What is available to me right now is an onslaught of information: Wikipedia summary of the book and life details of the author, detailed information about every book he had ever written and recommended books.  I can readily find email addresses, telephone number, and directions (which also could include flight information and hotel rates), hours of operation, and current staff members of the publisher.

Now I can download books by this author (not Getting to Know General, yet) directly to my kindle (it’s on my nightstand next to my bed) in under 6 seconds.

My Morning News

Time is going by so slow.  I just looked at the clock and it said 12:12.

I poured myself a cup of coffee, stumbled into the dining room, opened and unlocked the computer (ruby darling is her name.  She has a sticker on back that says ‘I donut care.” ). Nice morning ritual, I think to myself, coffee and reading the news.  Sounds legit.

I fire up good old google news, and scan the headlines.  I baffle once again over the influx of negativity that is the staple of catching up on local and global events.  Definitely a lot of gossip written in very persuasive tone of voice that doesn’t leave a lot of room for reader opinion.

Today’s top story, in my mind, was a particular piece of coverage about the fucking eclipse – a centennial celestial event that seriously everyone has to comment on.  No, I do not care if you got eclipse glasses.  It’s just something to buy and throw away.  This story, however, was about a Donald Trump tweet – another current top story since he took office.  Fucking twitter?  God how little I should care about a silly social media fun-thread bulletin board.  But apparently, this is shaping the world’s view of top politics in this country.

This tweet, though, was beyond comprehension of moral decency, maturity, and unmistakable evidence of any lack of intelligence.  It was a 4 part image of Donald Trump’s colorful face eclipsing a black and white pensive portrait of Barack Obama.  Below in quotes “best eclipse ever.”  This has to be a prank.  This has to be a prank.  Dear heaven, this has to be a prank.

If not, my reaction would be akin to Tina Fey on SNL weekend update about the riots at her alma mater.  If you haven’t seen the skit, do it now….  It’s of one attempting to keep a sense of sanity by stress eating cake.  A farce reaction because keeping a faith in the leadership ability of this country and maintaining the happiness of a fuck ton of people is a completely bananas concept.

Alright, enough news, enough opinions on the world at large.  It’s time to close up the internet shop, and locate the fat cat still sleeping in bed.  Curled up in a furry grey ball of soft adorableness, I give her some love.

Coffee half gone, I stumble to my phone to check awaiting text messages.

Its 12:13.

I have no idea how that is actually possible, to live a whole morning in 1 minute.  Time’s wanderings have changed pace, and I have to slow-up to adapt.

– Marigold

 

Ps- I got a good joke- Hey Donald, here I thought I was the worst speller in the history of writing anything!  Bam, self-esteem is starting to rise.

Just Another Day

Walking to the train station on a surprisingly sunny winter afternoon, on a short 6 minute walk to the platform, the number of people that you pass by is equally as stunning as the seemingly early spring Friday morning.

Four Uptown residents stand in line waiting for the bus, pressed up against the outside wall of an old Chicago building-the inside of the worn brick wall of this particular building lies the dying soul of an old premier jazz club, frequented by the greats of a bygone age- an iconic club that has been swinging for over 100 years.

The first person that I pass is giggling to himself like he has just heard the best joke ever told.  Either he is still drunk, or just generally delusional, it is hard to tell.

Next in line is an old man with his hand out begging for money.

The third man, tall and in a straight green jacket is standing perfectly still, silently waiting for the bus to arrive at the stop, successfully ignoring the world around.

The fourth person refuses to wait next to the old jazz club wall, instead teeters near the curb, obnoxiously not following social protocol by being in the way of the sidewalk traffic.

After the line of bus soldiers, a man, seemingly homeless, stands in the middle of the sidewalk for no other reason than producing another obstacle in the early morning course to catch the train.  After the standing man, with his arms held up to the sky for no reason,  comes the cook at the local taco joint- the place who’s doors are directly in front of the bus stop like a welcome matt, rounds the living statue with a hot bowl of soup in his hands.  I also like soup for breakfast, and we nod to each other hello, happy soup to you.

I turn left and cross the street, nod hello to the guy who is always on that side of the corner, in front of the bank, with the cardboard sign in his hands.

I cross the street again, and at the other side is the local chain coffee shop, with a line of beggars combing over the patrons just like the line of people requesting coffee.  Outside these doors is the lady who sells Street Wise who has a rotating wig collection, an inclination for daily change that I can admire.  She keeps the same speech, though, preaches the same spiel to every passerby- yells it almost in a high pitched plea.

After this last Uptown persona, I dodge in between the slow walking shuffles of the working class, run up the stairs after I beep my fare card, hoping to catch the train that just pulled into the station nested high on the elevated track line, chugging me downtown to work and to prosperity, on the electrified iron balance beams that jet me on my early morning trans-city commute.

Back to the Future Post

10/21/2015

I had a post for this day, but apparently the post had gotten deleted by my future self.  I cannot recollect what the contents were, but certainly it was of too extreme importance or too profound to exist in 2015.  It had to be deleted before it saw the light of day, it had to be erased before it was unleashed upon the world at large.  I am sure that the mission to return to this present day was complicated, expensive, and highly secretive.  “Back to the Future,” that awesome movie made in the hey day of my childhood, picked this auspicious day for special reason, but that true explanation I don’t think we will ever know.  There is something mysterious about the 21st of October, 2015.

Apparently Marigold can predict the future, let’s hope she does something spectacular with her vision.  At the very least, we have definite proof of time travel.

Autumn’s Magical Tug

There’s something about September, something special in those precious final moments that desperately cling to the lure of summer’s dream.  The last night-cap after an adventure filled night, the last bite of gooey dessert, one more tight hug goodbye, a stolen kiss in the moonlight, the smell of the sunset, that last glance over your shoulder as you leave the room sending sparks in your eyes.  It’s a sense of longing, but having just one more second to enjoy the sense of serenity. Of fulfillment. Of peace.

There is a magical something about that late September feeling.  That anticipation of change, yet the reluctance to let go of summer’s charm.

This change in balance is about losing the force of the summer sun but gaining the crisp of fall.  It’s like the cracking of the delicate crème brulee, biting into a crisp wafer, snapping open that perfect apple.  The last puff of summer’s flame is the satisfaction of breaking something perfectly layered,  like crushing the layers in a buttery croissant, biting into a nutty baklava, breaking open a flaky turnover, crumbling a cookie, breaking a brittle.

These last few days are that particularly perfect standstill in the tug between the changing seasons.  Only rarely do we have this troubled serenity, like that moment of twilight when the sun has subsided, but Mr. Moon is still missing.

Insomia Inspirations

The cicadas are singing although the summer’s sizzle remains silent.

The wind’s whistle has wound down to whispers of forgotten wonders.

The clamorous children have chilled down to cool calm, keeping clandestine clues of their company.

The people parade past peacefully, particularly predisposed to participating in practical partying.

Sleep should be sound, but my psyche is still spinning swiftly, severely sidetracked from the summertime slumber.