Showing posts from July, 2011

Twice Shy

In one year of being married once again, I have come to realize that when people such as DB and I come together in a second marriage, most of our energies are expended in navigating minefields. A certain tone of voice, a gesture, a mannerism, food habit or what have you will trigger a bad memory. Suddenly, the past will come into the foreground with vengeance, completely obscuring what little you have built together with pain-staking effort. Like a friend of ours said, a new marriage (even it is the second time for both) is a like a messy, kicking, screaming infant and we would be well advised to treat it as such instead of expecting adult behavior from it. 

Yet, more frequently than not, we expect the other person to "know better" given the lessons learned from mistakes past. We expect adult behavior from the bawling, unreasonable infant that is our marriage. When expectations are not met we are quick to indulge in self-pity, give up on the partner's ability to ever chan…

Having to De-annonymize

I have always trod with caution when it comes to social networking. My blog has presence all over - Facebook to Foursquare but personally I stay out of everything. My buddy C takes annonymization to extremes only alpha nerds can take things to. He does not have a rewards card for any store, he usually pays with cash and makes sure he does not follow any kind of "buying pattern". His goal in life is not allow himself to become a data point for retailers today and context brokers in the future.

I am curious about what Google+ is trying to do with the idea of Circles for non-intersecting areas of people's lives. A step in the right direction certainly but with their track record, with the whole Buzz episode I would be skeptical for a long time to come. Specially when their competition believes that de-annonymization is necessary and almost inevitable. 

Anonymity on the internet has been of particular significance to me. More than ten years ago, when I desperately needed help …


Recently, we were at an art exhibition where I saw a tiny oil painting depicting two runaway slaves hiding in Dismal Swamp. The most amazing thing was the clear expression of fear on their faces when in fact the artist had not drawn a single facial feature. The figures were too small for that amount of detail. Whether you stood inches away from the picture or a feet away, you could not fail to notice the two tiny figures cowering in terror. Of all the paintings I saw that day, this one was my favorite. Reading about this extreme pointillism version of Monalisa  reminded me of that picture. In this case, a very famous painting has been reduced to its basic color palette and because of how familiar we are with it, there is that element of recognition - you can see the form of Monalisa where she does not exist. I wonder how it works with paintings like the one I saw at the exhibition - a faceless face conveying a full range of emotion. 

Both seem to be about minimalism but in completely d…

Unguent Tide

In the season of give,
the tide had nowhere to turn.
It continued to pour out love,
covered the beloved
in hot, urgent kisses. 
It craved to be held and touched,
- the angst of its spate eased.
Having found love at last,
it missed it's turn to ebb.
At the season's peak, 
the unguent stench filled
the beloved's pores.
They were drowning.
The heady mix of spice
and juice made the stomach
churn. The kisses lost
their fever, embraces
their heat. The beloved
reaches out in the dark
seeking out those places
once so ready, bursting 
with life now gone dry.

The Rain Came

When rain splashes on my head
I don’t run for cover.
It is not what I do in rain.
I soak in it, let the damp
seep into my bones.
I need the cleansing
The chill shakes me out,
giving many lost years back
to redo as I might in hindsight.
Pair later or not at all,
have my worldly goods fill
no more than a backpack,
travel where my heart took me,
make love and friends on the way.
There is the matter of motherhood.
A dream that chased after me
furiously – had every baby
coo, gurgle and smile at me,
rush into my harboring arms
like they had come home
where they belonged.
And each time, there was
a dull ache in my empty womb
that had to be filled 
with life and purpose.
Then the rain came
and with it three men.
The first with an umbrella and embrace
The second with the first kiss of my life
The third with remonstrance for getting wet.

Elephants and Dragons

Ten years ago, around this time of year, I made an important decision - I was going to leave my husband. My daughter would be born a couple of months later. We would continue pretending to be a family until she was twelve weeks old and then she and I would leave. That was the beginning of a decade of strife, impermanence, uncertainty and angst. My marriage was still new when I bailed out – less than three years old and we did not own a home. During that time, I had always feared the rainy day and saved like a squirrel. When the rain came pouring down, I was grateful to have the resources to go solo with an infant.

For the first time in my life, I will have a home. DB, J and I are planning the big move coming up. We come to this point in our lives from very different places. For him, it is about making up for lost time – he wants to leapfrog to where his peers are in their lives without having put the twenty years to reach there. For my daughter, this event signals the transition from …

The Android Infuse 4G Experience

I have been using the iPhone 4 for about a year now and it was my first foray into the world of smartphones. As expected, switching over from my Motorola Razr to the iPhone fundamentally changed  my relationship with my cellphone. Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Android Infuse 4G and was very  impressed by its capabilities – it reset and recalibrated what I thought I could expect from a smartphone.

Google Voice Actions -  Absolutely loved the idea of being able to search, text, email and call by saying what I want done. Both my daughter J and I tried it out. I do not have an American accent and she does. We both found it really hard to get Android to understand what we were saying. So the calls went to the wrong person (if at all), the email typed out completely incorrect and so on.

We tried ennunciating each word, pausing between them, speaking loud – all to no avail. We did get lucky one out of ten times but it was hard to understand what worked versus what did not. In…

Manufactured Serendipity

Art and factory wouldn't normally belong together unless it were by design. Thought this was a beautiful idea - to commission art from factories by having each piece be incorrect in any way that a factory worker chose it to be. The results of the project are intriguing and whimsical - they could just as easily been created in an artist's studio by hand. Making these useless, unusable objects may have been the most creative latitude these factory workers ever had in their jobs. What an amazing break from monotony and a beautiful assay into the world of art, and design that would have been. As always, the reader reactions to the story make for interesting reading - not everyone is equally impressed and with good reason too.

Things Past

My mother is visiting us for a few months this summer - the first time since DB and I got married. The old and new in all of our lives are colliding randomly with unintended consequences. J has regressed a couple of years or more being the "baby" grandma knew when she saw her last. DB is learning how to adjust to yet another new person in his life. I am trying to balance being the daughter I have always been without making DB feel like he's the odd one out in the family. My mother is seeing me being a wife once again - there are some sad memories there for her mingled with happiness for me. We visit the past for different reasons and outcomes. 

My cousin M called me after ten years this morning - to say hello. She has trouble reconciling with the changes in my life and traipses around the subject of DB. Instead she talks of the last time we met - when R(my ex) was still around. She takes trouble not to mention him and the memory turns lifeless as a result. M treats marria…

Mirror Image

DB and I were waiting our turn at the counter when I saw this woman and her child. Almost reading my thoughts, DB said "That must have been how J and you were before we met". Her stress level was perceptible, the child (about J's age) looked completely worn out. The two seemed to be surrounded in an orb of anxiety. She spoke breathlessly to the customer service agent - trying to explain why it would be impossible for her to come back another time to complete whatever business she had. I could relate. There was a full-time job, raising a child, possibly no support or vacation time. This was the only window of opportunity to complete the task.

After some back and forth, she gave up, grabbed her paperwork and the child's hand and rushed out. In her face, her body language and in how she interacted with the woman at the counter, I saw myself as I was for ten years. No one had held up a mirror to me and shown me how odd I appeared to the world at large. I repeated myself o…