One more fa la la la la and you are out of here...

bah humbug

I tend to be slightly dramatic so take the title of this post with a swig of rum-spiked eggnog. This is all new. Navigating a holiday of togetherness during a global pandemic, delivering just the right amount of parenting to an inchoate adult boy/man as we both wait for campuses to open next month, and figuring out how to be a grownup.

Yes. Although well into my 5th decade I have been lucky to live a fairly untethered existence. Mostly due to having the temperament of a honey badger, I work independently as a spatial data analyst while also carving out ample opportunity for trail runs with my dogs and pre-covid travels delivering the lexicon of a data informed life.

I often joke that I am unemployable but what I really mean is that I have a finely tuned bullshit detector. I think this year has helped many of us to peel off layers of not giving a fa la la and to focus on our unique gift, talent, or whatever you call that thing that people will pay you for more of.

Here we are. Launched into a spectacular universe that may or may not be star filled. Perhaps we gaze at the beauty and magnificence of the universe—or maybe we are looking at signals of Elon Musk’s latest satellite launch. The blinks from above that once signaled our humanity and humility are now emblems of excess—a mega-constellation of wealth beaming internet signals to help direct your attention to this or that thing.

So how did I end up with a publishing contract? In a year where momentum was halted around March as conferences and presentations moved to Zoom or even worse—those finicky platforms that threaten you to download Google Chrome or face doom in the middle of your talk.

I joined a variety of online literary festivals—mostly as a distraction. As a journalist, I subscribe to more than my fair share of magazines so silver linings being what they are—invitations to festivals without the pointy elbows needed to navigate crowds or the hefty price tags to travel.

In attempts to replicate the camaraderie and networking of the crowds through logic emulators there were assigned times for entering chat rooms that abruptly closed and re-opened every 10 minutes. It was during my second attempt to be punctilious and avoid crashing the software that I met a wonderful young woman brimming with vitality and the ability to tell compelling stories within a short timeframe. We decided to buck the system and find a way to continue chatting.

We shared stories from work and home and yada yada now I have a publishing contract.

Having recently expanded my research in poverty to not only focus on CENSUS data but also spatial analyses I was exploring 3-D and robust capabilities within geographic information science (GIS). This skillset will be the topic of the book. It is amazing what you can accomplish when there is no artifice simply an authenticity and a desire to listen and to engage.

Through the process of developing the manuscript I imagine I will unearth interesting links or ideas worthy of sharing upstream from actual publication.

Here is the first. The New York Public Library has a large digital archive of historic maps. NYPL Map Warper either provides a tool to help align or rectify maps from this archive to the modern maps of today, or grants access to those already transformed.

Here for example is San Francisco during the 1800s:

Now, once rectified, voila. There is ample instruction allowing you to assist the NYPL in rectifying these maps. It serves as an introduction to skills utilized in geospatial analytics.

Stay tuned if you would like to follow the journey. More detailed posts will be available for paid subscribers but you can follow along for free from the cheap seats.

Have a lovely holiday and stay safe folks…

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity—Harlan Ellison