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Author: Christopher A. Kess

Writer, et. al.

First Snow

Definitely not used to it snowing this early in the season in Baltimore. As I always tell people, I'm not used to the first snow of the season coming until after the first of the calendar year. As it turns out, my gut feeling matches the reality behind early snow in this part of the world. Read More

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Posted a Couple of Poems

As usual, I have a long story about the subject, but the condensed version is that I have been given a challenge, a mandate to share more of my work, just for the sake of doing so.  I’m exploring my creativity again, for its own sake, ars gratia artis, and just putting it out there.  Hence, I posted a few poems.
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Kess Circle

I was an adult when I learned about Kess Circle.

I’d learned a ton about my mother’s side of my family growing up as I spent the majority of my time around them.  While there were mysteries and gaps and tales that more properly should be known as legend than history, I at least knew about it.  All I knew about my father’s family was about our specific branch starting with my grandparents. My father and his numerous stories (he should have been a writer.  His Baltimore stories were awesome). My uncles and their love of boxing. And obviously, family drama. But not much more. Even as I developed a deep love and study of Black history while I was in high school, my own origins were still vague and even more mysterious.

Some time around 1997-1998, I received an email from someone claiming to be a relative.  He’d been online looking for other Kesses and had come across my then-website. We struck up a conversation over email and as it turned out, he was indeed a relative, part of the extended Kess family that I knew pretty much nothing about.  Kevin shared information with me about the larger family, our origins, how many of us there were. What seemed like a smallish family, centered around Yale Heights where my grandparents lived, was just a small part of a much larger family with a rich history.

This eventually lead to a meeting.  

I was able to convince my grandfather to go down to Glen Burnie with me to see Kevin’s immediate folks.  PaPa, one of my uncles, and I piled into my grandfather’s minivan and made the trip where we met Kevin and his father.  The two older men were cousins who had not seen each other in a very long time. They talked about so many things — our history, our ancestors.  We made plans to get them back together at some point, but unfortunately, we never did that. I fell out of touch with Kevin. His father passed. My grandfather did.

Fortunately, the family history hasn’t.  If anything, it’s spread more. A lot of the extended Kess family is online.  I don’t know them well, but I’m at a time in my life where I can change that. I plan to.  And not on online, but in showing my face some down Route 100 soon and wherever else we may be.

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Late Selfie Day (the saga of the keyboard)

Yesterday was National Selfie Day.  I ran into some snags getting my selfie posted on Instagram, so I’m posting it now.  Lately, I’ve been accompanying pictures on Instagram with the backstory. The backstory for this picture got too long to post there, so here are the selfie and the story.

She seemed to be helping. Took some time, but she did.

From August, 2011: Exciting times.  Months of saving, waiting, and jealousy had finally given way to owning my first iPad, the iPad 2.  I bought it as my birthday present to myself that year. I had never owned an @apple product and the last time I’d used one was way back in high school at @citycollegian: the venerable Quadra and PowerPC, both of which were the computer teachers’ computers, inside their office behind the 3rd floor computer lab.  Mr. Rosskopf and Mr. Morrow would let a few of the more engaged students back there to experience some real, mid-1990’s computing power. We weren’t doing much more with them than ClarisWorks, but the power and prestige those computers represented then, was palpable, much like buying a Mac Pro these days.  Sixteen years later, I was stepping into the world of the cool kids, the more affluent kids, or so the stories even back then, went.

Working in IT, I was expecting this was going to change how I computed, at the office, but moreso, I was hoping to enhance how I wrote.  I loved my laptop, but it was bulky and I welcomed using lighter, more portable devices. I researched and discovered so many apps that could help me get work done.  I couldn’t wait to get started. The only thing missing was the one thing most of the iPad 1 owners had told me I needed: the Apple wireless keyboard.

I still have no clue why they were hard to find where I was, but they were.  I went around to a bunch of places and nobody had one. This went on for weeks.  But lo, and behold, one day, a Walmart in Philly had one, I discovered online, and I ordered it.  Then, I gassed up and hit the road to go claim my prize, the missing piece to complete my whole new world of productivity, and probably, coolness, and the cachet that Apple products were supposed to give you.

When I got to the store, their pickup desk didn’t have the keyboard ready.  They couldn’t find it, for some reason. The lady in the picture said she’d help me find it.  It took a good, long while, but she eventually did. While I waited for this to happen, I snapped this picture.

The keyboard did help me turn my iPad 2 from a consumption-only device to a creation device better suited for my workflow, especially when it came time to type up a scene or an essay, even if file sharing, even for files you’re sharing with yourself, wasn’t nearly as advanced as it’s become in the last several years.  Unfortunately, my original keyboard ran into some physical complications and it had to be replaced. But, I still have the replacement and I’ve used it with my iPad Air 2, which replaced my iPad 2, as well as my Samsung tablet, which I was talked into purchasing one day while paying my cell phone bill, and has served me well, just the same.  I do have to say, though, that once I got my Chromebook (another months-long saving and planning process), I started to use my iPad less for creation (plus there was the issue of my dropping it). It takes far less time to open my Chromebook and fire up Evernote than it does to turn on bluetooth and connect the keyboard.

Also, I really miss these glasses.  Those were nice glasses.

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