For years we would see the wheat-pasted artwork of artist Spazmat posted around downtown New York City. His posters were unmissable. His street art was comprised of an iconic image: An illustrated portrait of a skeleton with a cell phone in its bony hand held up to the skull as if talking on the phone. The posters were usually rendered in a stark white on black. Informally dubbed as “Skull Phone,” the image suggested many things, among these the dangers of technology. We hadn’t seen Spazmat’s artwork in many years until we recently spotted one of his skull phone wheaties on a utility box along Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles. This one was printed in blue and white with a striped design, almost nautical in style and fitting for its location a few meters across the road from the ocean.
Pictured below are the contents of my coat and jeans pockets spread out on a table following my arrival in Amsterdam. Looking at these I realize that aside from my iPhone (not pictured since I used it to take the photo) it’s pretty much all (and perhaps more than) I really need for international travel and a seven-hour transatlantic flight.
The contents include, clockwise from top-left: Ray-Ban folding sunglasses, Property Of leather wallet, passport, Moleskine soft-cover notebook with Micron felt pen tucked inside, ear plugs (I lost one on the plane), dental floss, iPhone USB charger, cash (U.S. and Euro coins and bills leftover from last trip to Europe), lip balm, earbuds, Orbit chewing gum, a banana (leftover from breakfast on the plane), silk cloth for cleaning my eyewear and devices screens.
Or course, I’ve got a Porter carry-on bag with a lot more stuff that makes a long flight bearable, and in this bag usually bring along useful stuff, such as my Apple Macbook Air, external hard drives, HD cam, snacks, eyemask, eyeglasses, a change of clothes (in case we get stuck somewhere due to flight delay/cancellation), multi-country electrical adaptor, a few toiletries for freshening up, etc.
In our ongoing photo series What’s Outside the Window? is this image of a couple hugging on Orchard Street, as seen through the plate glass front wall of the Dressing Room Bar, in New York’s Lower East Side. The girl looks sleepy and affectionate, while the guy is checking his cellphone and seems to be texting.