Friday, April 18, 2014

Tal Streeter : August 1, 1934 - April 17, 2014 .

Tal's body left this world yesterday afternoon, at 1:45 pm , April 17th 2014.  He had passed the previous night with the Dream of Flight Family visiting.  I saw no further evidence of stroke. His right side was not paralyzed and he recognized each of us as his eyes fluttered open on hearing a new voice. He spoke only a few words in the four days . He tickled my arm when I helped aides move him. He seemed not so much in pain, as in a deep sleep or perhaps deep concentration. His breathing was even but it stopped every five or six breaths for what seemed like forever. 25 seconds of apnea and then he would start again.

Romig and I slept beside him that night and the next morning we stayed gathered 'round him taking turns sitting beside him. He had visits from many of his friends.  Gerry came and his eyes fluttered open as we listened together to Chopin and a quartet of  Robert Schumann  with Pablo Casals and Rudolph Serkin on the piano.

Romig and I started to sing songs that we loved, listening to a bit of Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and Randy Newman. We read from the Philosopher's Kite and started telling him the story of Little Talkite.

How we walked out line and with a tug, launched Little Talkite, Romig and I . We started letting out kiteline as he started to pull to go higher and higher. We described the creatures he would see up there : a bumblebee, a dragonfly, clouds and a moon . A small white butterfly came and sat alight on his right shoulder. We described how the clouds would come buoy him up, so light was he...he found thermals and started to climb even higher. He was so far up, we told him he appeared to us as a tiny dot. We let out more line. I told him that I had a pair of scissors in my pocket . When he was ready, I said I would cut the line and release him. He said the words "higher and higher"...and he seemed to just float up there for awhile.

Ellen Ambujam Verkerke, his massage therapist,  someone he trusted so much, came. She shown a small light on his chest and he visibly calmed even more. She offered council to mom and I, that perhaps we shouldn't try and stimulate him too much more. that it was difficult for someone to allow themselves to go. She left.

Then Virginia Gilstrap, his hospice nurse came in. She listened carefully to his breathing.and took us aside for a few moments and described how the process would look. Not five minutes later, I saw his eyes open as if startled, we went back to him and held his right hand, mom and I and sat quietly beside him as he took his last breaths. He clenched my hand tight and pulled it up towards his chest and then...was no more.

I cry as I write this now, but at the moment I felt a great well of release. We all did I think. He had great peace on his face.

David and Gerri (Tal called her "Gigi") came back in and Virginia helped us the four of us wash his body and dress him in simple white shirt and pants. Gerry put a black jet bead necklace with one red bead on him that she had made and was precious to him. We put two paper airplanes his godson Tiger made for him in either hand. One was the "Swallow " that Toki -san had taught Tiger to make, carefully curling the wings like one curls a mustache. Fiona put a packet of licorice tea in his sock. Mom put a ring on his left hand that his friend Chimney Butte made him.

His aides and more of his friends came to see him...and we sat around telling Tal stories. Where and how we had met, his flight on Tom Odai's small plane when they flew him down from Manhattan, Kansas to Santa Fe almost four years ago this coming August,  We wished all of his friends could have come and joined us for what was a really happy moment.

We will certainly be holding a memorial service for Pop in the coming months to coincide with the opening of the Dream of Flight Museum and Library. I will let everyone know well in advance so that you may all join us, in celebrating this life and ongoing legacy that Tal leaves us with.

Look Up! You will see him up there flying very very high!

Tal's Dream of Flight Family

Santa Fe, New Mexico April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Wind Comes for our Tal Moon

Yes, Tal had another stroke. At some point during the night of the 15th of April, 2014.

He appears to be in very deep sleep yet his eyes fluttered open to look at Tiger lying quietly alongside him and Fiona standing near. 

He hasn't said anything nor has he shown any signs of distress or discomfort. "His breathing is calm and even" says Romig who spent the night of the 16 th sleeping beside him. 

His friends visit : David and Fiona Wong-Wagner, and their son Tiger, Tal's godson, as I mentioned earlier. Gerry Egan, his friend and closest confidante at El Castillo spent quite awhile with him yesterday. Marie Cash came and spent a moment with him. 

Lissa is flying over the Atlantic and will be there on the evening of the 16th . 

He is accompanied by his team of Ambercare Hospice Nurses : Virginia Gilstrap  and Josepha and Hospice Doctor Tron, : as well as his El Castillo nurses, Kris, Cathy, Ted, Hans and Anna. His aides : Dan, Jackie, Carol, Sandra, Dolores and Brenda 

I will update you all on what hospice means for Tal in his current condition as soon as I have any further information. That should be at about 10 pm Santa Fe time. 

sending this from Dallas Fort Worth airport stopover : 3 PM 

Endless Smiles at Hongik University Seoul, Korea

Tal Moon Streeter was visiting artist in residence at Hongik University in the 1970's.

South Korea at the time was under the dictatorship of a man who's name I can't recall.
It was a pretty hard place. People barely surviving the bitter winters, living in shipping compartments, no insulation. With only a charcoal brazier for heating.

Nothing like the South Korea of today. A wealthy, bright metropolis with an enlightened mayor who has pushed through inspired community building projects like the opening of the Han river walkway. This has dramatically changed one's experience of the city.

Tal has many friends there. He was/is deeply touched by Korean culture. Loved its artists,writers and musicians. He still loves listening to traditional and contemporary Korean music. He calls himself "Tal Moon" (that translates to "Old Moon" ). We are sure there is an important part of him that is deeply "Korean" as amazing as that may sound. 

I know he feels a special connection to this sculpture which while cerebral in nature, encourages you to "look up" towards the blue sky, a better future. Yes, it moves/pivots and turns in a wind.

Endless Smile (also translated as Eternal Smile ) is how he saw Korean spirit and the welcome he received from this culture.

I wanted to ask if he wished to add something to his published writing about the piece for the students and passers-by of today's Hongik circa 2014 but I don't think I'll have that chance.

Found this Tal Friends Card in the "precious things" area of his library in Verbank, New York.

It is dated 8/1/1992. His 58th birthday which he celebrated in Seoul.

And this in the catalog for his Total Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition - "At the Far Place of Sky's End" :

"In speaking of his appreciation of Korea : I note that though the modern super highway looms on the horizon, a Korean woman still plants flowers in its path. In my quiet moments here I read old Korean shino poetry looking for the place of my heart. I derive much of my inspiration from the poetic spirit and the appreciation of art and nature which I find in Korea. I am very great full (sic) for all my Korean friends and colleagues who have given me encouragement in Korea...and a second home, one which I love dearly. "

Brice Gordon ( pseudonym of Tal Streeter )

Monday, April 14, 2014

Google Glass and Tal : The Big Wish

April 15, 2014

What is Google Glass ?  

Basically it's a pair of glasses ( actually one glass on the right hand side) with a lens that reflects directly onto the right eye's retina. 

Google Glass uses something called "Bone Conduction Transducer (BCT).  So if you were sitting next to Tal while he was wearing these, you wouldn't hear anything but he would be able to hear Glass speaking clearly. Wow! 

Google Glass* offers access to a search engine, camera and connection to the web via existing Wi-fi. For those with Bluetooth and Android phones or Iphones, Google Glass connects with/via these too. 

Pop, being in one place could use the simplest and least costly system: Wi-fi.   

A typical day might start like this: 

Pop could be lying in bed, reach down and put on his Google Glass. It senses automatically when it has been put "on" . This is called "On - Head Detection".   
He turns on Google Glass using the "Head Wake Up" feature by lifting his head slightly. It is pre- set to react when you lift your head to an angle of 20°.  You can also set this angle to whatever is comfortable.  

It uses voice recognition software or a scroll pad device that is part of the right stem of the glasses. He wouldn't have to shout (!!!) just speak w his normal voice. 

For the moment there are 8 Basic Voice actions of which 5, look like they would be most useful to him. 

They are:

"Ok Glass..."

"Google..."  (Google search engine")

"Send a message to...

"Make a call to...

"Make a video call to"

"Take a photo" 

These are is just some of the basic options !

Pop would be able to hear his email via the Glass "Read Aloud" function. 

Pop could write this blog using Glass' blogger app

Hear your comments read back to him. 

He could write and read poetry, haikus and short stories. 

Write letters and send them! 

He could listen to a radio program/web cast. 

He could hear the New York Times read to him.  

He could listen to music of his choice. 

Google Glass could offer him up to 7 hours a day of this kind of basic usage

So here I am sending this big, big wish out into the universe : 

Google Glass + Tal Streeter would make a great pair !  

Today, April 15 2014 Google Glass goes on sale for 24hrs to anyone living in the USA that wants to "Become A Glass Explorer".**

Now how to come up with 1,500 Dollars?  Hummmmm. 


*Lots more things that Google Glass is capable of doing: getting directions, facebook, twitter, Reddit...the list of apps is phenomenal but this is what I think Pop, with practice, would be able to use.

**At present there are something like 8,000 Glass Explorers in the United States. They are used by people in all walks of life. 

How We See ? The Eye - Brain Connection

I'm thinking Tal "sees" pretty well ! As far as I know, he incurred no damage to either hemisphere's thalamus, nor to either hemisphere's occipital lobe. But the damage to the right parietal certainly has affected his general understanding of what he sees. No doubt about that. 

In gathering more information about seeing/sight and how our brains process this information, I found an excellent description of the eye + brain = sight in a conversation over on "The Straight Dope"

user njtt offered this overview ..."all talk of the brain, let alone parts of the brain, seeing anything at all is merely loose and metaphorical.  Brains do not see anything, nor does conscious visual experience arise solely because visual information from the eyes arrives at some location in the brain....People and other animals (whole organisms)see things.Their brains play alarge and essential role in the process of seeing, but brains themselves do not see (let alone hemispheres, visual cortices or whatever) 

Much the same could be said of eyes." 

Another user, heavyarms553 offered this explanation of brain anatomy with relation to sight:

"First lets define some words. Medial or nasal means towards the middle, or closer to your nose. Lateral or temporal means towards the sides or closer to your temporal bone.

Lets consider this situations. A doctor shines a light in your eyes on your left side. Light from the light bulb travels to your eyes and hits both of your retinas. Because its coming from the left, it doesnt hit the entire retina on either side. In your left eye, the light hits your medial, or nasal, retina. In your right eye, the light hits your lateral, or temporal retina.

If you look on that diagram, you see that the nerve fibers from both medial retinas cross at the optic chiasm, and continue in the opposite side of the brain. Because of this, information from the left side of both eyes travels to the right brain. Similarly, information from the right side of both eyes travels to the left brain.

So while yes, both eyes are connected to both hemispheres, information from the left and right sides of your visual field go to the right and left hemispheres, respectively.

At the occipital lobe, the rearmost part of the brain, the information received from the retinas is processed, and your brain attributes "what", "where", and "how do I feel about this" to the things that you see. Without the occipital lobe, your brain can't understand the information it receives. Losing the occipital lobe is sort of like trying to stream a video with the wrong codec. You get all the raw information, but you have no way to interpret it.

Interestingly, lesions of the occipital lobe can cause a phenomena known as cortical blindness. Patients will swear up and down that they can see just fine, but will be unable to tell you what they are seeing. You can predict what areas of their visual field will be affected by the extent of the lesion.

So yeah, that diagram explains it all pretty well. The corpus callosum is not involved with vision until after it has been processed by the occipital lobe."

So where does that leave Pop? 

As I understand it with "sight" ! But perhaps not insight

Again the missing right parietal means that interpreting information in his left visual field is indeed lost or not possible. Any way around that? Another path to be developed and explored ? 

One more piece of the puzzle to work out!  

Tal's daughter,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tal on Time

Just a quick followup on that previous post :

Found a Tal message elsewhere that he wrote in responding to someone's query...

"Time just seems to slip by like a piece of fine silk, you can't hold onto. Caught by the lightest breeze, it flies away into the sky, leaving you behind, your head to the sky."

Sound like someone we know?

His daughter counting the days when she will be speaking to him in person!

I've got several plans for reconnecting Tal to the wider world ! So keep posted!

I'm hoping to find a pair of Google Glass in Santa Fe for Pop to try out. See if he can learn to use this kind of system?! I'm thinking with all I know about his condition/situation this might  just be possible!
Am looking into it at any rate. And you all know how I am. Like a dog with a bone.

Wish me luck! And please get in touch if you have any ideas 'bout Google Glass for Tal ? Know someone that can help us ?!

My next post will be about this phenomenal new path for communication with others: friends, family most importantly the wider world. I think Tal Streeter has an awful lot to offer.