Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

High Tech Nomad chapters

Naked at the Epicenter

This little snippet from my Miles with Maggie series took place two months before the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shattered our newfound Santa Cruz complacency. The foreshock impressionistically recorded here was but a teaser… yet deeply intimate somehow, coming as it did on the edge of sleep. The impact on the psyche was intense,…

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Standing in the Window

Somebody on the net recently asked me what my days are like. The popular image, I’m sure, is of a bustling Winnebiko lab with scurrying white-coated technicians fitting glittering surface-mount subassemblies onto a frame of high-tech composites and tightly laced bundles of optical fiber and coax. Surrounded by Sun workstations, I coordinate the efforts of…

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Born Toulouse

Above: the Rebirth jazz band in 1984 (photo by Steven K. Roberts) by Steven K. Roberts New Orleans, Louisiana — July 14, 1988 There’s a sort of melancholy about this city, you know, a strange melancholy that excites the lusts and touches the soul… and every descent from our balconied French Quarter suite into street-level…

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And now for something completely different…

by Steven K. Roberts Titusville, Florida — 15,382 miles December 27, 1987 AUGH!! Slow down, reality (or speed up, fingers). I keep adding to both ends of this story from different cities, scrambling it beyond all recognition, trying in vain to keep some kind of perspective. Impossible. What looms as a major event one day is…

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Blood in the Spokes

The accident described in this story had lifelong implications; it is funny how often something occurs that we don’t recognize at the time as significant. Three decades later, as I add this to the archives, I squirm in pain that is directly traceable to this grisly tale. There was some coverage in the local paper…

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Rocking into the Bible Belt

by Steven K. Roberts Cary, North Carolina — 14,475 miles November 8, 1987 How’d I get into this, anyway? The movie’s over, and still I sit dully switching the cable between the decadence of music video, the two-dimensional world of late-night soap opera, and the hypnotic criminality of religious broadcasting. I miss Max Headroom. Our host…

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Technology Update

by Steven K. Roberts Richmond, Virginia — 14,241 miles October 28, 1987 At last we have fled the madness of metropolitan DC. Looking back, it seems a marathon—a sort of delirium like those tangled memories of fevers past. For a month we cruised the confusion, working, doing the media dance, visiting new friends and old… torn…

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Junkyards and Tollbridges

by Steven K. Roberts Reston, Virginia — 13,962 miles October 2, 1987 Yes, we’re still alive. Through the frenzy of the last three weeks, I have opened a half-dozen mini-files, each an aborted attempt at writing this update. Since the Easton story I have lived a year’s worth of adventure and change, with the notion of…

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Notes from the East

by Steven K. Roberts Easton, Pennsylvania — 13,505 miles September 3, 1987 Somewhere in the Delaware River Valley of northern New Jersey, in the back yard of a hostel that’s supposed to be open, I drown in a sea of white noise. The tent around me roars with rain—the sound pouring into my head, saturating…

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The Other Woman

©1987 by Steven K. Roberts Ithaca, NY (13,231 miles) August 21, 1987 The road, once begun, never stops. Tonight in Ithaca, over a fine dinner of linguine and wine, coffee and sorbet, we spoke of travel. Hitchhiking marathons of 17 years ago were revived in candlelight; freight-hopping adventures came to life with all the gritty…

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