i'll be in belfast, northern ireland friday morning for TN2020 (more info on noneck.org) and need a place to stay for one night. anyone have a spare couch for one night?
it's been 483 days since i left new york city and i find myself in a highly recognizable position - unemployed with commitments of passion. one year ago this week, i was working my way across india. in a weird twist of fate, one year ago i was out of money wondering how i'd make it back to the united states.
now it's time to batten down the hatches and figure out two things - how do i process 53 hours worth of video footage and how do i make a children's book... now is the time to do something interesting... in the meantime, watch this awesome remix.
disturbing news from Minnesota.
within the past 24 hours, i've gotten word that my friends, the glassbeed collective, were detained and their equipment subsequently confiscated. as the story has trickled in from multiple phone calls, txt messages and emails. my other citizen journalism friends, the uptake, were there to capture the first press conference detailing the illegal actions taken by the Minneapolis Police Department.
the glassbeed collective is known around the world for documenting police brutality. over the past month, one of their videos was wrongly removed from youtube on a false copyright claim. they have also published a video of a cyclist being assaulted by an NYPD officer in Times Square. last week, they published another video of a brutal arrest in WIlliamsburg, Brooklyn. you can find more links within this Gothamist Article.
for those of you wondering if i'm sad about getting deported, i'm not. i'm happy to have my freedom and highlight the plight the media faces covering the olympics. since my return, i've now seen the mainstream media use aliased emails, code words for sensitive topics, and rely on anonymous internet drop boxes for posting timely stories. it's unbelievable that even olympic reporters must use spy-vs-spy tactics to file their stories.
in my video from t^2 not only do you see a protest, but at the tail end i was able to capture the assault of CBC's beijing correspondent. not only was he attacked, but his passport was pick-pocketed.
a shortened version of the events
within the past 24 we're hearing about an ITN reporter "arrested" with another group of Free Tibet protesters (though the chinese don't consider being led away being arrested). John Ray, "a fully accredited China correspondent", was detained for 20 mins and sustained minor injuries. below is the video, and i'm sure this will not be the last western journalist assaulted for covering protests in China.
as it seems that my mind is unable to keep up with the flurry of updates surrounding this story, i want to lay out a timeline for reporters and fellow bloggers to clearly understand. i've seen a few miss prints and want to clear the air.
1 - 2 Aug Photos - Depart for Beijing, China from New York City.
3 Aug Photos - Walk around Beijing and see sites.
4 Aug Photos - Visit the Summer Palace.
5 Aug Photos - Visit the "Bird's Nest" and hang out in the Lake District.
11 Aug - Arrival in USA (while in transit from LA, Chicago, and NYC, twitter updates are reflected on facebook wall status.) at 7.45 pm, steve spurgat notifies me that my f'wall updates no longer what i posted but instead are replaced my a code Fred Benenson blog post. (qik videos - Arrival in NYC, at Newark, Arrival in NYC, in Taxi Cab, Culture Shock)
my first question - where do i begin?
my first answer - from the beginning.
one year ago i left my friends, family, and everything i knew for a journey unlike any other. with close to $4000 USD in the bank and another $10,000 in credit card debt, i packed two backpacks and said "so long." now it's one year later, i now have $12,000 in credit card debt (mostly in late fees), and a just enough in my bank account to cover my ever growing list of expenses. (more on cash flow later..)
over the past year i've been a nyc taxi driver and have found myself in the company of good peeps who have invited me to make a few presentations around the world. somehow, someone liked what i did and said "give this boy a job." alas, now i am now the community manager for RemixAmerica.org and trying to understand the impact of mashups and remixes.... and if wasn't for the massive hangover i'm still working off, i'd tell you how happy i am with my level of creativity.... BUT all of that is just the most recent icing on the cake.
what i really want to so say is since my departure, i've seen a small slice of the world, and fallen in love with the endless possibilities that exist between here and there. between here and the one year anniversary of my return, you will get a recap of me and the untold story. (my arrival + 1 year will be the opening day of my documentary film.)
yah, so if this wasn't enough for you to chew on... i have a confession, the journey you saw last year wasn't the compete journey. i held back because i didn't know how to process all of my thoughts, footage and hell, i need the chance to f'ing live a little. so once i get my video camera operational, you'll start to see some new videos... i promise you a new video every week, and hopefully i can do more.
for now, here are a few pictures from the first two days...
it's been 11 months to the day since i departed nyc, and have been told a friend has departed to another world. last night, shortly before midnight, ellen rafel became an eternal angel. in the photo above, her hand is to the left and erwin's, her husband, is on the right.
this past month's journey has been intense and an emotional roller coaster. up and down and around my heart has swung. while the month of may started in a fog of romance and trudged up to the peak of heartbreak, down into the valleys of birthdays, and onto a few loops de loops of two new jobs. now, i can see the tracks race off into the distance.
while i'll spare you the lovey dovey personal stuff - let me tell you about ellen's & erwin's birthday. since 1999, i've known Gideon Rafel-Frankel, their loving son. as the years passed, gid would always invite me to their family functions... from summers on cape cod, to weekends in NYC (when i wasn't living here), birthdays, passover, holidays, parties and the like... through all of the events, i was a witness to one of the best damn relationships i've ever seen...
now separated only by physical space, the memory of erwin and ellen and the care they demonstrated for their sons, themselves and all their friends and family has left an indelible mark on my soul. the passion she demonstrated was recognized when over 100 people jammed themselves into a tiny two bedroom penthouse apartment on the upper-west side to celebrate her last birthday.
as we sang and embraced her life, i knew ellen's glorious soul wouldn't be around too much longer. as we said our goodbyes, it became apparent to me that this family had impacted me more than most. with lessons from own family, erwin's tenacity as a refuge and ellen's love as a social worker, i set forth to see the beauty of all we can touch.
along this journey i have found something that is indescribable. something i can never articulate in words, photos nor movies. on six continents, i found this thing buried in every person who open their mouths, families, and hearts... never could i have imagined that the world is filled with so many loving people.
while i haven't been diligaent in writing about the lessions i've learned, since my return i have lived every moment knowing that my passion to make this a better planet is unexcable. the love we can share with each other is something that should never be taken for granted. the opportunities we have to change everything around us is real.
sunday, when i stand with her family and countless other souls who have been touched by her love, i know she will be with us as an eternal lesson that peace and hope are the only two things we need. you don't need to be famous, you don't need to be anyone of any material goods - just love everyone - love the unescapable and work to make it better. well all else fails, be at peace.
ellen, thank you for being one of my teachers.
this photo is from today's jelly at house 2.0. check out the work at jelly flickr group for more photos.
happy 2nd birthday to "work at jelly!"
today, i headed uptown to House 2.0 for a bit of organic coworking and to be a member of "24 hours of jelly." if you haven't heard of jelly, it's really something you should check out... (you should also check out episode 3 when i visited jelly last summer).
what is jelly? imagine opening up your house to the coolest people in the world and just geeking out. well, that's jelly. sometimes it's super productive (like two weeks ago in brooklyn) or it turns into a gab fest when a CNN reporter shows up. eatherway, it's one of the best ways to meet new people and extend your social network.
it really doesn't take much to host a jelly - set a date, email your friends and set up a wiki. yup, it's that simple. i hope to jell with you some time soon!
if you go to my flickr account, you'll find the last few days of me on the road and my first week or so being back in nyc.
here's the big news that all y'all have been waiting on... i'm now going into my second round of funding. since i'm broke, like super broke, and i'm tired of asking the internet for money - i have decided that i need to do two things here in nyc...
1. make money
2. continue my journey in new york city.
i've decided to become a new york city cab driver. while it won't bring me mad loot directly into my pocket, it gives me an opportunity to document, see and navigate the beauty of NYC. too boot, i'm also going to help out an industry that most artists overlook. there are many things left to be figured out, but as you followed this journey - here is another one for you to enjoy. check out http://taxiNYC.tv and i'll be back in a few days with some updates (aka jelly Brooklyn / NYC - BarCamp NYC 4 & my master plan to turn this into a full length documentary).
first, i'm spit polishing my thoughts for my "omega-th" dorkbot nyc presentation. tomorrow's presentation will be light hearted and quite bitch'n. from 19h00 (7pm) on, i'll be at location one fighting my fears and reminiscing about my journey around the world. afterward, i'll head over to the tank (the arts space not the drunk thing) and see my living liberally buddies, mike and his shinny new book. i hope you can attend one or both!
oh, if you're looking for photos from last friday's brooklyn coworking open house / "work at jelly" session - check day 238 photoset on flickr.
ALSO, last night i had an awesome opportunity to hang out with the UnionDocs crew for their screening of sleepwalking through the mekong. the film highlights dengue fever (the band, not the illness) mini-tour in cambodia. while the Q & A session got hot and spicy, i enjoyed seeing Pheom Phen and found myself missing the other-side of the world. if you have a chance, check out UnionDocs' documentary bodega series and if you can, try to catch dengue fever!
- other thoughts -
it is hard to believe that just seven days ago i arrived back in nyc. honestly, it's been a totally weird experience. not really knowing how things would pan out, i spent two nights on my friend's couch before moving to an undisclosed apartment in the lower east side (ps - i've been asked not to say the exact location. which i totally respect since i'm living rent free; utilities not included).
now, i feel a bit settled and find myself applying for a multitude of jobs, and exploring
first, it was the world economic forum's global fellowship program - i should stop here and explain this decision - if you don't know the controversy, let me lay out some lines... WEF is criticized for creating programs and projects that in the end hurt more people than they help. WEF is also criticized for creating a global conference - DAVOS - where many backroom conversations foster many more questions than answers. all-in-all, i feel that their work, their programs, and their general perception of life can improve.
while change is not easy, i know we can revolutionize everything we touch. using a bit of WEF's language and looking through the lens of the past seven months, i see a strategic framework that any organization can use. for-profit - not-for-profit - there is a framework for production and equality. without a doubt, i firmly believe in the opportunity to advance the seven topics through research.
also, over the past week, i've also applied to oxford university's research fellowship and Google/YouTube's Non-Profit content manager position. while i have a dwindling set of funds and want to dedicate myself to the long term cultivation of all the things i see - i have just a few short days to make some critical decisions that will impact the next few months and determine the rest of my life...
the first decision - i've decided to help Brian Conelly, from alive in baghdad, to explore the development of a video advocacy organization. this non-profit will be named "alive on earth" and will pull in the best and brightest video talent to understand the sphere of video advocacy and community journalism. ranging from curriculum, open source tools, volunteer translation and consulting - we are casting our nets and thinking about the next 10 to 15 years.
the second decision - i'm going to finally get my hack license. no, it's not some weird provincial ability to pillage bodies from nyc. a hack license will allow me to drive an NYC yellow cab. yup, i'm thinking of becoming a taxi cab driver. while there's a long list of things i have to do and i think the cost of testing, forms and junk will cost me around $1k, i'm writing out a proposal that just might score me a sponsor and get you a camera behind the front seat of a taxi cab! ;)
over the past few weeks i've gotten a few requests for an updated list of my gadgets. for the seven months that i was on the road, i ended up ditching one wardrobe and most of my socks. now i'm down to two pairs of the following - pants, long sleeve undershirts, underwear - three t-shirts, button up shirts - six pairs of socks - one beanie - one dinner coat (spray painted) and a hoodie. as for my computer gear, it really didn't change until the fifth month when i was in ohio at my parents place and conveniently ran out of hard drive space.
over all, there is one gadget that ruled the school more than any other.... my urban assault two liter camelpak. while they no longer manufacture the two models i took with me, i wish camelpak would focus on the "urban warrior" (aka the geek who carries a laptop, camera, paper notebooks, batteries, compact still camera, pens, tripod, voice recorded, etc.). according to their website, the closest thing to what i have is "the wingman." it can cary a laptop, and a paltry half liter of water. camelpak also happens to have a wide array of "tactical" backpacks that seem to have a few more of the bennies (ie features) on my ruck (ie backpacks).
now onto the geeky gear that require electricity.
- Sony HVR-A1U, it's an hdv camcorder with two XLR inputs.
- Sony 37mm Wide angle lens which was on the camera 95% of the time.
- Sony DVCAM DigitalMaster tapes (10 Qty), Sony HDV tapes (30 Qty) & MiniDV tapes (15 Qty) - while i started out with the super expensive DVCAM tapes, i quickly moved HDV tapes with 85 mins. when they ran out, so did my money. then, i was forced to purchase MiniDV tapes (or have people buy them for me - thanks roland!)... while, the quality is subjective. i haven't had a problem YET!!! we'll see what happens in a few months.
- Sony NP-QM71D (high capacity battery, 1 Qty)
- Leica D-Lux 3 w/ 2 gig SD card, digital still camera and emergency/backup video snaggle-toother.
- Shure SM58 wired microphone and 10 foot XLR cable. serriously, i had no clue why in the hell i purchased this mic, but it was a totally clutch machine in loud environments (aka airplanes, bars - ie thailand).
- Audio-Technica Pro70 wired lapel mike w/ a 15 foot XLR cable. this was loaned to me from patrick from microcinema. for interviews, i found it better than the shotgun mic on the a A1U.
- a 4 foot tripod - $20 bucks, it's still broken, and i still use it.
- a mini tripod - awesome for night photography and/or desktop videography.
- Apple MacBook named tyrone. he was pimped out with 2 gigs of memory and 150gb hard drive - Mailplane, iLife 07 and then 08 in Nov, iPhoto Buddy (to help people transfer photos to CD or DVD) NeoOffice, Pathfinder, ChronoSync, TextWrangler, Adium, Skype, Quicksilver, Pando, Audio Hijack Pro, Colloquy, iPhoto Export for Flickr, Final Cut HD Express (upgraded to Express 4 in Nov), OmniFocus, Ecto, 10.5 in November and a much of other apps...
- Incase laptop case
- LaCie hard drive, 7200rpm 200gb (F.A. Porsche model) - this hard drive was a pain to carry. combined weight and bulk (with extra power brick) made it a shear pain in the ass to work.
- OWC Mercury On-The-Go FireWire 800/400 + USB 2.0 2.5' (qty 2) - in november, these drives replaced the LaCie hard drive. without a doubt, the smaller size and bus power proved to be worth their weight in gold!
- 60 Gig - 4th gen iPod Photo - a back up of my iTunes music and podcasts.
- 8 Gig - 2nd gen iPod Nano - Audio Entertainment - i wanted something that i could always keep me company...
- pepto-bismol tablets so you don't get pepto-bismal! seriously, it's a gadget of modern medicine. take it with you!!! you can thank me later.
- two universal power prong adapters from kensington - this is another one of those musts... it had adapters for every country but india's funky UK, but not styled prongs. too boot, it came with a USB adapter that allowed me to charge my cellphone or ipod. totally clutch!
- one US 8 outlet power strip from staples - yeah, they tell you not to use an american power strip, but it worked for me. i've been told from people who bring 220 volt power strips to countries with 110 volts that they don't work so well.
- cell phone - Treo 650 Unlocked - without a doubt, this was an absolute life saver. if you're traveling and find yourself meeting up with people,
- Zoom H4 audio recorder w/ 1gig SD card - to be honest, i really didn't use this all that much. while there are many things i could have done with it... it traveled the world with a bunch of dead AA batteries.
- AA rechargeable batteries and adapter that shane (beachwalks with rox's partner) gave me while i was in hawaii. i used them a few times, but the charger died a month later.
- an 18 month moleskin planner. paper is so much better than plastic.
- three moleskin notebooks. see above, paper is better than plastic.
- extra macbook battery and power supply - around november my laptop could no longer hold a charge. since my macbook was 16 months out of warrantee and i didn't have apple care, my father was gracious enough to lay down $200 bucks and bail my ass out.
- apple's in the ear headphones, sony's cheap ass ear buds, and apple's white ipod headphones.
- a woman's sleeping bag.
- pack lock. it's one of those wire netting things that enable to lock your ruck. i only used it once... then again i spent as much time in hostels/hotels as i did in people's homes. i could have used it more, but found the world to be more trusting than most. i was lucky!
well, it's weird to pen or type these words, but the noneck officially has returned to NYC. at 14h30 on the wings of Swiss Air LX22, he arrived at JFK and rode the A to the L and into the arms of brooklyn coworking. ok, the weridist part is that he's jobless, homeless but never friendless.
for the next month and a half while he sorts out the odd jobs, couches, spare bedrooms, empty nests and the sort... feel free to shoot him a line, invite him for dinner and let him sleep on your couch. just don't ask him when he's going to shave or cut his hair... he's going to milk those for a while...
speaking of milking or shall i say working with your hands. brooklyn coworking is going to be hosting brooklyn jelly this week, too boot there's going to be a bit of an open house. so if you're interested in meeting the myth over a cup of joe, join the jellies!
in the grand scheme of things i've realized that no longer am i working on just a series of integrated topics, but an eco-system of systems and values. before i start tripping over myself in post-calvinesque arguments (i am in geneva till saturday), i'm struggling to iron out the complete landscape that sits beneath (or behind) the past seven months. for now let's call this an re-introduction to the luck of seven.
not only have i decided that i'll parlay the past seven months into a new media experience (children's book, a vlog reboot and movie), but i now understand the seven topics to be the basis of a strategic framework. when i first wrote down the seven topic, i had this notion that i was setting out to document the best of the best of our new world. if there was ever a cataclysm, we could use this framework to rebuild society. now more than ever, i see that this notion is not too far fetched from those ideals, but need to be crystalized into a yummy chocolate bunny for the masses.
first you'll need to understand that this is an eco-system. as established from the Wealth of Networks, this network has revolutionized all methods of production. we are sitting within the new age of mechanization. the highly organized world of central nodes are struggling to keep up with the ever adaptable biological structure called humanity. last year at this time, my brain imploded when i heard ben cerveny give a presentation on metaphors. at last year's LIFT 07, he linked technological metaphors to biological systems. one year later with several more books in my head and thousands of kilometers beneath my feet, i have a hard time seeing metaphors. i see we create networked systems in attempt to mimic the biological systems we are... granted this is a viewpoint from a high vantage point, this is the beginning of it all.
welcome to my / our new world.
as i've tried to explain countless times this is not just a basic networked system but a system of systems of systems upon systems. i know a few people are trying to ground this system in trust, kharma, love, lust, id, etc... and i have yet to discover the core of why people self subscribe to this society. maybe it is the fact that in this age you can be whom ever you want. not in the simple context that we can change our bodies, but in the fact we can adapt our brain to systems that are expressive to our own identities.
wither it's drupal or joomla, or myspace or facebook, we cling to the notion of brands because they are labels of culture we know. as far as i know brands will always exist... brands extrude reputation. how is this central to my argument? well in this world we can create any brand we want. if we know how to have a conversation, phrase an argument and use the digital / social tools; we can build anything we want... the idealist world we dream is at our finger tips.
how do these networks operate in the real space? are online values and systems transferable to the physical world?
the past seven months have not only been a journey around the world, but a journey into the internet. a journey i thought one could ever take. from one email to another, i came to the realization that my conversations things connected me through the internet. they connected me to the medium of the world.
now there are many more questions than i have answers. i can only proclaim what i've seen. i can only tell you what has happened to me and what i've touched with my own two hands...
what i have seen is a system built on the idea that the world is a free place. the world is not to be abused, robbed, raped, or pillaged... granted these things happen but in the end that is not the central activity of the world. there is giving, there is taking. there is a free and open exchange of knowledge. not everyone is willing to give up the same information that someone else has, but in the general context of things, most individuals will offer assistance when asked. sometimes, they'll give more assistance than nesscary.
when connected to an information network, the cost of entry to a global conversation diminishes. yet these acts of selflessness, greed or pride amass an unprecedented amount of knowledge and participation... this is the world we are in now. you can easily find the world's knowledge at the click of a button. wether it is right or wrong is a whole nother question, but it's there.
the more that we toyed with these spaces the more we found out that we can bring these ideas "offline" and into the physical space. egalitarian notions of software was just the beginning. from email to blogs the democratizing of information drove us to the point where we no longer needed someone to tell us how we can participate in the conversation.
if you look at the explosive growth of freelancers (some can be considered outsourcers, or out-sorcerers), you will see nothing more than an the democratizing of work. this work has always existed, this has always been the central tenet of industrialization. yet in the 21st century, this has spread forth across the globe and evolved into a multitude of ideas unheard of several years ago, BUT that doesn't mean that these elements of culture didn't exist before hand... they have always existed. some were too expensive (multimedia production); others were too obscure to discover (couchsurfing.com / global freeloaders).
when it comes to information, the merchants who raised great sums to bring us the best of the silk road no longer are needed. as the past ten years have taught us, the networks between us all shrink infinitely when we reach out. albeit it is still a costly investment, the new silk road is assessable to more. from electricity, to hardware, to communications infrastructure, to education... we are slowly whittling down the cost of access. once on the road, or as it was one called "the information super highway" we are privy to the world's infinite connections of enlightenment.
when it comes to the physical, many have realized we are no longer are we willing to deal with the limitations of a world dictated to us. if we can freely converse online, who is to limit our ability to organize physically? if we have the ability to build online, we are freely able to build upon other's words for the betterment of our collective knowledge, goods and services. for the past seven months i've been blessed to freely exchange ideas, content and build physical structures were the net benefit is the sum of all of its parts.
the world online is no more online than it is an offline activity. for the past five years i've been privy to a front seat exploration of politics, policy and products are free to change and grow as we see fit. incredibly we've openly recognized that we can not exist in an online only environment. some of us call it jelly, coworking, foocamp, unconfrences, barcamp, mashpits, meetups, devhouses, saturday houses, workshops, clubs, etc...
more and more we are coming together to physically represent the world we see online. if there isn't a physical representation, we dust off obscure solutions or build replacements for a world once dominated by a heroical structure dominated by others.
we have the power. we are the future. without a doubt, the world today is dominated by freedom. freedom to move from one system or another... from one workshop to another... from one conversation to another... from online to offline... it is now up to us to perpetuate the love of knowledge into an eternity of wisdom.
this is the wealth of networks. this is the luck of seven. we are the starfish generation!
whoa! if there were two cities that i would call a couple, it would be paris and new york. it absolutely astonishes me to look up and see a crystal clear blue sky, with a subway rubbling the ground beneath my feet and amazingly the most polite people on earth... well except for one short little man who must have separated ways with his identical twin brother... and while one terrorizes the politeness of new york, the other fines his vain in paris.
it's my last full day in paris. it's a monday. the sky is blue and the air a bit crisp. my friend lucia and her roommate are somewhere between barcelona and paris and i have two appointments and one unscheduled stop.
first i run to art-and-you.com to interview mary-noelle - beyond the crazy story that she and i share a mutual friend in nyc and discover that we share a mutual friend of a friend in geneva. mary-noelle and i talk (ie she talks and i record) about how art-and-you.com has yet to "officially" launch but is already becoming a well heeled video staple in the Parisian art community. using the fine video skills of friends, art-and-you offers a unpretentious view of art, the galleries, the styles and all the jazz one would normally spend four or five years studying. too boot, they have an online space for artists to upload images of their work to be critiqued from the global community of nobodies like you and me BUT also notable curators, artists, and people who are blessed with societies' knowledge of art.
now here's the best part and why it ties into the whole coworking tiff. art-and-you just doesn't work online, but they have the necessity for their OWN ART gallery. yeah that's right, they need a physical space for work to be displayed, events to be held, and a location to lasso their community... in my mind, it's not too far from the average plight of a normal startup or independent worker.
btw, they also have a partnership where parisian bars and pubs select from art-and-you's catalogue to add ambiance. if you like what you see online, well just run down the street and see if it suits your fancy. it's amazing that this is this a whole network to educated people in art, where to find art, and also how to collect art! currently, if you go to art-and-you's gallery, you'll find a young collector's pieces and a workshop on how to become an art collector. RAD? yah, i think so. btw, next year they're bringing this program to brooklyn!!
around 12h45, i met with mary-noelle's husband, ludoovic dardenay. sidenote, ludo's business partner in World Zhulu Corporation is in china and with my drupal buddies jacob redding and robert scales, the three will talk about drupal in china at drupalcon 08 in boston... but back to ludo's problem, first here's an excellent example of a modern technogenious. the man is bucking the french trend and working hard to start businesses. yes, that plural. apparently (i only use this word because i no longer have access to the economist report on france's markets and how they prevent startups) france has a major problem in startups. most of this has to do with labor law and taxes and the fact that people are guaranteed employment, healthcare, pensions, etc... you know, all the good things that americans so despearatly want but corperations and governments use the french example to thwart.
so ludo's got three business in the oven - the geek consultancy (aka a drupal development shop), a film production company and a restaurant - oh and he's working on a vineyard (yeah, did i mention he's french?) so ludo's problem is multifold (and i'm not talking about the two cell phones that he carries). ludo needs an insprational center where he can be connected with a community of communities and find other young startups or independents that need complementary services... the reason why he needs this "concierge" service is convoluted and maybe as an american i can just say that it is a french way of doing things. needless to say, the nature of an individual who's as a awesome as ludo no longer needs to toy with some henchmen nor a social networking shite. ludo now has a location in central paris where he can go and suss out problems or clients. the solution - la cantine - it is parisian for coworking.
after our conversation, i ran back to the subway and ran into mary-noelle (she was on her way to a meeting at ludo's office; i'm telling you this couple is mad busy. i was happy to have the few hours i had with them :* ). as my last day in paris, i had to track down the latest development of paris ideal of coworking. two weeks ago, i got a little email reminder that la cantine is open for business.
heading back to the same general direction i came from, i found myself at the same metro stop i exited to meet mary-noelle. nussled down the street from the grand boulevards metro stop, i discovered one of the thousand little side alleys of commerce. wrapped in the dusklating sunlight, i entered under a scaffolding to the ideal of many independent / freelance workers.
behind the store front glass stood none other than christophe. he appeared to be an introductory meeting of some sorts. now christophe is another one of those crazy french guys. it had been seven months since christophe and i last met. then it was a hot summer day and i was running into town and he was running to mediate some labor dispute. over multiple shots of coffee we discussed the future of coworking and his ideals of a location in paris. (see the video)
as i stood in front of the door, i hesitated to enter. i knew once i entered this threshold, i would spend a minimum of a few hours talking to people, asking questions and figuring out what does coworking mean to them. for a second, i thought i could just come back in a few mins... but my heart was racing, beads of sweat were growing. if i didn't know better, i would think this was love at first sight.
it could have been a small mirror that bounced off an upper floor window and onto a plate glass which illuminated the inside... but to me it seemed as if god sneezed light. as i walked through the front door, the cafe erupted in color. orange, green, white and black... (btw, in france black is a god given color.) while my photos provide no justice... the place is a palace
wrapped in projectors, outlets, wifi, and ample desk-space. the 11 day old facility has become a hive of parisian geek culture. according to marie noeline (i kid you not, it's another NOEL!) the space is used every night by geeks wanting to come by, hang out and hive. from drupal to wordpress, from php to ruby, from barcamp mashup to impromptu troubleshooting sessions. la cantine is the place to see and be seen.
as the training wheels are adjusted, cost of the space is variable. since the palace is managed by silicon sentier, a concierge for parisian startups, and there are partnerships with the likes of upgrade, dorkbot, orange labs, fing, city of paris, cap digital - so they are looking to cast their net far and wide. if you have a chance, drop by.
and casting the net far and wide is just what two users of the space are working on... karen and vincent are working on a traveling book series. this is not just about travelers and their stories, but the travels their stories take. if you hop on over to http://traverses-lelivre.com you'll be able to track down copies of a book that feature their own serial number and feature a series of french stories from around the world... sometime this summer, karen and vincent are going to purchase two mules and walk from portugal to the netherlands. too boot, over the summer karen is going to release a series of books she's written and a DVD of her trip where she walked from paris to istanbul and then rode a bike to Jerusalem. awesome, i think so!
with the day waning on, marie noeline found a few more mins for me and we started making lists of what she needs and what resources i knew. we talked about the coworking email list - "work at jelly" - collaborative art conferences - conflux - unconferences and the like... in the end, she kept on saying "what do you want this place to be?" if you're in paris don't pass up this opportunity, you have a free space filled with all the resources the city has to offer.
by the time the sun was below the horizon, my friend lucia came to pick me up. seriously, i felt like a kid at playschool not wanting to leave my new friends... and as lu and i were walking the front door out a group of artists were setting up an interactive floor display. this floor is installed every night for development while the artists hammer on the software... seriously, i almost did turn to my friend and said, "can we stay longer?" but alas, i just made another resolve to find a mechanic to fix my motorboat so i can come back and forth as i please.
ok, now that i look back on the past seven months and i see a about a ba-gillion and one things that i could have done different... but in the end, i'm am more happy now than i ever could have thought. i am at peace with my self and more importantly, i am at peace knowing we have much work ahead.
for those who are planning a similar exploration, i'll warn you... the hardest part of traveling the world is finding balance. it is one thing to absorb, and then there is another to complete work. yes, i do mean work. don't get me wrong, shlepping has it's payoffs but sometimes you'll find it hard to leave the safe confines of an apartment for yet another drive, walk, or exploration of the environment...
now combine that with a active campaign seeking out an angle for good content. if you're like me, after seven months you'll find it quite hard to fit the world inside of a camera, and after having a forest gump running moment, you realize that you're tired of running and you just stop... it gets even harder when you've run out of money, the weather is shitty and you are stuck in houston, tx.
two weeks have passed since the official end of my journey and i find myself at the tail end of my illness, not the subtle illness of a chest cold and/or parisian flu... but at the end of some monumental aliment that took me to the end of the darkened tunnel of love and was rescued through the hospitality of normality.
so for the last two weeks i've been a smooth rock, skipping first from houston, then into NYC - i had to reconnect with my bestest peeps/sleep in my bed, but like a good skip, they sent me sailing across the pond for yet another home coming...
many years ago when i concocted this crazy idea, i drunkly called up my airline miles and planned a little adventure to a small little city in switzerland. with the little money i had, i purchased a conference ticket and then scouted out ways to stay for free... at the advice of a friend, i found couchsurfing.com and a little technology convergence titled LIFT.
three years later, i'm on LIFT's main stage spewing my crazy idea of my global journey, hugging the world, meeting new friends and still couchsurfing.
now, for the past week and a half i've been in paris bouncing from a friend's couch (the ex-girlfriend who sent me on this journey), picking up the parisian bug, aka the illness (and when i mean illness i mean the desire to live here and i also mean a serious cold), then bouncing into the lovely arms of Dr Miggy whom i met in houston (and was making her first international voyage), and back on to my friend's couch.
during this time (that being the seven months on the road) i've languished in writing, detailing photos, and videos......and i'm just now realizing that only a third of the story is public. luckily, now that the trip is over i don't have to worry about new content, i just have to find a job and series of NYC couches to hold me off for a month... (more to come later)
so now that this journey is physically ending, i'm not gonna worry too much about NEW content. NOW the focus starts on the stories yet to be told... the 50 some odd hours of video a massed. the hundreds of pages scribbled here and there. the thousands of over exposed / underexposed photos that tell more about the people than the places... frankly, the more i think about it, the more it excites me. i now get to relive the journey from the lenses of my self, i now can be the spectator of the adventure i took, and you get to join me!
so seeing how i still haven't found an employer, i can take the liberty to say that i'm going to follow my heart and relaunch this project and look for funding on using following framework... on 07/07/08, i'll reboot the vlog and start all over again giving you weekly episodic content that combines what happened "a year ago" and what's happening now with the movie / book / luck of seven strategic framework (btw, i'm going to crystallize the seven topics into a new cagey / guru need not apply / corporate physiotherapy / "hey look, the geeks at the front of the classroom have social skilz and we're going to harvest an evolution" / < insert your witty t-shirt catch phrase here>)... so in a year's time frame (marchish 2008) all of this should parlay itself into the release of a documentary film...
just so you don't think that this is your uncle's wacky disneyland adventure where you're force fed sugar and told to sit still, this documentary will feature many "call outs" for content... for example, i want a really cool hand drawing video (a-la, make mag's weekend projects / four eyed monster) that sketches the world and colors the continents as i bounced or special effects, etc, etc, etc... in other words, a number of tasks that allow you to help fill-in the kernels of content that i can't pay to produce, nor know how....
long story short, the story is just beginning... below i've selected a few photos that since i last uploaded photos on my last day in ushuaia.