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Prologue: Caged










(February 19, 1969)
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Caged.

I was caged.

Then, I was driven.

Driven to Cherokee.

A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.



Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.

Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak:



Cloudy and cold, condensation and frost riming the windows, piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.

I, cargo.

Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.

Shifting, crossing my legs…

Please, can we stop?

Hot and steamy inside.



Shivering, my teeth rattling.

Please…I have to go!

Hear something, George?

Naw, nothin’ important.


Laughter.

Cargo has no voice.

Madness has no voice.

Listen, crazy girl…

Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…

“I’m crazy, crazy…”

Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…

I, crazy?



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From I, Driven: a memoir of involuntary commitment ("Prologue")


© 2008-2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

Excerpt may not be used or copied without author’s permission.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

News Clip--October 4, 1968: Hewlett-Packard Advertises a Desktop Computer

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Today’s issue of Science advertises a new type of computer:

“The new Hewlett-Packard 9100A personal computer is ready, willing, and able...to relieve you of waiting to get on the big computer.” The $4,900 device, designed to sit on a desk top, weighs 40 pounds and is equipped with magnetic cards. This machine does scientific calculations.

From Wikipedia:

The Hewlett-Packard 9100A is an early computer/calculator, first appearing in 1968. HP called it a desktop calculator because, as Bill Hewlett said, "If we had called it a computer, it would have been rejected by our customers' computer gurus because it didn't look like an IBM. We therefore decided to call it a calculator, and all such nonsense disappeared." An engineering triumph at the time, the logic circuit was produced without any integrated circuits, the assembly of the CPU having been entirely executed in discrete components. With CRT readout, magnetic card storage, and printer, the price was around $5000.


The 9100A was the first scientific calculator by the modern definition (i.e. trig, log/ln, and exponential functions), and was the beginning of Hewlett-Packard's long history of using reverse Polish notation entry on their calculators.

Wikipedia GNU Free Documentation License

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