Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

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  • Published: Feb 22nd, 2009
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  • Comments: 12


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I chose the site ‘Big Smoke’ because I’m an urban indian, which is to say I’m already an ethnic and political mutt. What defines me is not so much the factionalism that surrounds me but their constant, immutable fractiousness. Having been accepted and rejected by all my disparate parts in turn, I am in essence free to choose my identity as I see fit – I’m Tsalagi, Irish and Black, a blonde with kinky hair – but while all of those are indeed integral and inseparable pieces of me, I am a New Yorker first and foremost.

I chose the moniker ‘Rott635’ as a nod to the semi-anonymity of the public outcry of the neighborhoods I grew up in – nickname plus building number; it used to be street number but that could be traced back – as well as the semi-anonymity of the lanes I follow out in the web. The effect of such are both similar: Both for their seeming cacophony and their seeming lack of cohesive message, but also their utter necessity as a social venting for people otherwise unable to express or represent themselves on the public stage.

I also go by the internet pseudonym ‘Nalano,’ a name I’ve used on various fora and other digital gatherings since 2004 as a means of generating the best of both worlds: Anonymity and, semi-paradoxically, recognizance through consistent usage. That is, after all, the point of a given nickname.

I was a database man and a sound technician for composer unions. I was a violist in a proto-folk string band. I was a sysadmin and a computer science teacher in the New York public schools. I currently freelance technical support to non-profits for my daily bread.

12 Responses to “About”

  1. RobMcP
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 2:06 am

    Your posts are worthy reading. I first noticed the one you made about the fuss Andrew Leonard made about President Obama’s address in which he supposedly riled Apple fans. Then I looked at other posts you made. I admire the way you state your opinions and arguments. I find myself agreeing with you, but that’s not solely why I made this rare comment. You write really well.

  2. Rott635
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 12:42 pm


  3. Blessed
    on Nov 23rd, 2011
    @ 2:46 pm

    I was recently directed here via RPS, and wish I would have spotted your link sooner. You carry a rather refreshing “voice of reason” with how you approach issues, and that’s something sorely lacking from society as a whole. I feel a bit of the mental exhaustion from countless amounts of misinformed (and/or willfully ignorant) online drivel peel away with each post.

    You don’t have all the answers (obviously), but it doesn’t keep you from being able to examine an issue with a level head. It sounds so simple in writing, yet difficult beyond measure for most to ever accomplish.

    I thank you for the brief respite your words have given me.

  4. Rott635
    on Nov 23rd, 2011
    @ 2:49 pm

    Thankee much for your kind words!

  5. Alex
    on May 10th, 2014
    @ 11:00 pm

    Hey there. I been on Gothamist a while and always read your comments when I see them. Never saw the link but finally did. To keep it simple, it’s pretty awesome and I really like the way you write. The words seem to fit together so well. Like a perfect game of Tetris. Anyway, read ya lata. 🙂

  6. Edie
    on May 22nd, 2014
    @ 12:31 pm

    I have been following your comments on gothamist today and I’m really impressed with your clarity of thought, intelligence and humor. Hey, you teach computers-can you teach me how to find the best way to utilize RSS feeds so I can follow blogs like yours regularly? I’m not computer illiterate, but RSS feeds seem to be a blind spot.

    Either way, will be checking back!

  7. Rott635
    on May 22nd, 2014
    @ 9:07 pm


    As for RSS feeds, as I understand it you need but find and install/subscribe to an RSS reader, and then input the URLs of feeds you want. My blog’s RSS feed link is on the right-hand bar, but here it is for convenience’s sake:

  8. Jodi
    on May 27th, 2014
    @ 5:33 pm

    Ahhh, yes. You had me at “cockblock” and had me even more at “Boo fucking hoo, bitches”, both scrumptious morsels appearing in the same mouthful in a Gothamist comment about the M60. “Whoever this person is, I dig him,” I thought. So, here I am. I have a feeling I’m going to be spending an inordinate amount of time reading your stuff. Ahoy!

  9. Rott635
    on May 27th, 2014
    @ 5:38 pm


  10. Dan
    on Aug 13th, 2014
    @ 4:50 pm

    You write with great clarity and insight.

  11. Christine
    on Nov 10th, 2017
    @ 10:07 pm

    I will miss your comments on Gothamist!!!!!!!!!! I only read the comments looking for yours!

  12. Jambe
    on Sep 3rd, 2021
    @ 6:49 pm

    Hey, don’t know if you remember me, but I was contacted by somebody using your Steam account. They asked in broken English if I would vote for their CSGO team. You might want to look into recovering the account if it’s still of value to you.

    Also: I would love to read you again if you ever feel like writing more here!

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