sorry to be a ham and get all porkbelly on all y'all. i really don't even know where to begin. the american experience is one hell of a show.
as i write these words, the northwest seaside of washington passes to my left. to my right, everything that i've known fades into a bewildering memory of love. off in the distance, i see islands of prosperity, amusement and a future not yet determined.
since my return to the "main land" i've settled into the gentle embrace of friends. old friends, new friends, friends whom i once disagreed with... friends whom i'll never properly know... friends whom i still don't understand...
as the early morning fly fishermen whip, i wonder what i've caught. i wonder what type of trout has snagged my line. it's been really weird to know that i am four months in this journey. with a little more than 100 days left, i can feel the prickly point of having less than $70 USD in my checking account. i also feel the prickly point of this journey, but do not know what is the exact prickly point. i know that every step brings me closer to the big fish. yet, the fish i attempt to sang is perpetually eluding me.
off in the distance, a steam rises from an urban outcropping and video the scene wondering how my state of nature has evaporated, condensed, purified and boiled off. there are so many things i see that need work. so many ideas that have to be explored, purified and condensed. so many others need to be boiled, frozen or thawed. i no longer see a simple solution to world's woes, but ideas that can transform minds.
we don't need revolutions, we need an evolution to find symbiosis.
to be honest, it is hard to condense what i've seen. it's hard to sit and think about what we are doing when paul hawken brings about more conclusions than questions... frankly, i feel he's written every i wanted to say. it's hard to read benkler and think about the complexity of a networked solution. it is hard to balance the curatanical views of "community managers" who talk about a networked - peer to peer world - yet only want "their" way of salvation through sustainable consumption. it's hard to think of an open solution when history is stacked against us... it's harder to find a solution when many more questions bubble up.
traveling away form the coast, the cold earth hugs a dense fog and envelopes my train... i wonder where if the rosy picture of a networked ecology brings me any closer to understanding.
as we bank to the left and bend to the right, i wonder how to stand for something and yet stand for nothing at all... i wonder who is the conductor and who is the ticket taker... or wether there must either... i wonder how to let my own frustration subside and focus on the ecology of seven.
when i first boarded this train, i did not see an alternative ecology. now as we pass the steaming marshes of everst washington, i see a golden sunrise. a sunrise that awakens us to an opportunity like none-other. i see rays showering the trees with a million points of wealth. i see lagoons glistening with opportunity.
i see an evolution of revolutions.
no longer must we stand in line for gadgets, badges or briefs.
off in the distance, underneath an orange hard hat and donning an orange work vest, i see you.
(i'm cleaning out my drafts folder and see there are quite a few thoughts that never made it to the page.)
ok, i've now been in the USA for about a week, and i think i should be playing jaime brown's "welcome to america"... it's nice to skip around a town and see good friends. for the last three nights, i hug out with megan (a friend from austria) and now i'm with my buddy steve an old high school buddy. for the past two days, i've kicked around town, greasing my bearings and catching up on a few projects with digidave.
a few weeks ago a former contributor accused me of taking a vacation, and from what i've learned... one can not listen to negative opinions... long before this journey started, i faced the same negativity and mental oppression. never in my wildest thoughts would i think that someone who's all into a "peer-to-peer" society would get up in my grill questing one's impact on community...
finally, i met up with them... (and no, i won't name them... i hope maybe they will come around), but from what i've seen - they are as stubborn as the reflection that stares at me every morning. nonetheless, i know it's time to kick out all of my miss conceptions of what constitutes community and focus on my ability to capture what i'm seeing.
ps - the last line was said in a casey kasem voice.
in the meantime, i have a song for the rest of you...
Isn't the right thing to do
How can I ever change things
That I feel
If I could
Maybe I'd give you my world
How can I
When you won't take it from me
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
Tell me why
Everything turned around
Shacking up is all you wanna do
If I could
Baby I'd give you my world
Everything's waiting for you
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
thanks larry for lunch and our subsequent interview. btw, i'm STILL stuck on one word "happiness" and reactive social tools... for those of you who don't know larry, you should check out his "little" project - ma.gnoia.com it truly is social bookmarking done right!
so after meeting larry, i journeyed down mission st only to find forgotten memories of my high school wardrobe locked away in the overpriced second hand stores. i needed a jacked, and acquired a green army wool trench coat. it's exactly like the air force one i had my freshman year of high school.
sf is turning out to be an interesting journey through small town america... :)
as i've cooled my jets, it pains me that i'm not going to take a road trip across america. since ciaro, i've realized that i haven't sat still in one city for more than four days... SF is one town where i know i can get a bunch of interviews, talk shop, and get some work done (edit video too). so instead of hoppin in a jaloppy, i'm going to bus, train and plane my way up and down the west coast and then fly to ohio. it really does make me sad, but it's what time, energy and money can afford.
the following is a list of people whom i'll try to interview. the list isn't complete so if you have any good peeps to recommend, holla at http://luckofseven.com/contact
San Fransisco Metro Area
david cohn from new assignment / freelance networked journalism
eddie codel from the hat factory - sf coworking & vlogger
neil drumm - advomatic, drupal, hack4dean
craig newmark from craigslist
darian rodriguez-heyman from Craigslist foundation
amit gupta from photojojo and "work at jelly"
colin brumelle from MixedContent LLC & drupal and ruby on rails developer
zack rosen from Chaper Three LLC, drupal association & mission bicycles - a SF bike startup
chris & tara from Citizen Agency / barcamp / coworking / online grassroot communities
schlomo rabinowitz - coworker, vlogger, socialite
erica olsen - second lifer
tantek celik - microformats & open standards
brad neuberg - coworking originator & programmer
ben rigby - Mobile Voter
david sasaki - outreach director of global voices
OAK to SEA - $180
Thursday, Nov 01
Departs: OAKLAND CA (OAK) at 2:20 PM
Arrives: SEATTLE TACOMA WA (SEA) at 4:15 PM
Seattle to Vancouver
Train: 510 Cascades
Monday, Nov 05
Departs: Seattle, WA (SEA) 7:40 am
Arrives: Vancouver, BC (VAC) 11:35 am
Michael Meyers and Michael Tippett from NowPublic.com & citizen journalism hounds
Robert Scales from Rain City Studios - Barcamp Organizer, Drupal
Boris Mann from bryght and Drupal Association
Kris Krug - flickr photographer & president of bryght
Workspace - a coworking facility
Vancouver to LA
Friday, Nov 9
Departs: Vancouver, BC (VAC) 5:30 am
Arrives: Seattle, WA (SEA) 9:15 am
Train: 11 Coast Starlight
Departs: Seattle, WA (SEA) 9:45 am
Arrives: Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX) 9:00 pm on 10-NOV-07
photohunt with julia
zadi and steve wolf from the jetset show
micki krimmel from revver / world changing
Halcyon from Hug Nation
Jerad - Movie director, Vlogger
julian bleecker - scholar and researcher
ben cerveny - theorist & philosopher
tony katz - radio personality
scott smith - programmer
BUR to CMH
Thursday, Nov 15
Departs: Los Angeles (Burbank, CA) at 8:54 AM
Arrives: Columbus, OH at 3:58 PM
today, a sad note arrived in my inbox. now that i have my prepay t-mobile account, i'm pissed. txt into twitter works everywhere, but not in america... bitches.
Thanks for your email. Right now we're working on getting pre-paid service supported; at this time, most prepaid phones aren't supported, with the exception of phones using Virgin Mobile. This is because most pre-paid carriers don't support text messaging to short codes, and Twitter uses a shortcode (40404) to send and receive messages. Metro PCS may allow it in some occasions, and Tracfone should work soon, but other than that, it may take some time. Sorry about that, and thanks for your patience!
Technorati Tags: twitter
today, i met the guys and gals of chipin! honestly, it really was a blade runner moment! don't worry, i promise you a complete recap of the past three days. in the meantime, i need to snag a few hours sleep. tomorrow, i'll visit pearl harbor and then depart to sanfran.
in the meantime, check out shane's tweets and rox's vlog! (why? while rox is away, shane is my live saving host! THANK TONY KATZ for the tweet!)
to be honest, i don't know if today is up or down. BUT one thing i can tell you, it's 2.30 in the morning and i can't sleep. last night, i partook in a birthday party. a chinese birthday party. the luck girl was 14, the daughter of a visiting chinese philosophy professor and roommate to amit (my CS host).
after a long day of moped'n around the eastern side of the island, amit and i found some left-over chicken and fries while watching the red socks capture the pennant. then we found an opportunity to get sand it our pants at a beach film festival... realizing the barrel of monkeys was just have full, we headed to amit's home to celebrate the above mentioned birthday party.
after a blur of languages and one hissy fit (not the birthday girl but a friend of a friend who's detailed how she didn't want to be included in any recording effort done by my hands. i have no clue what planet she's on, but obviously we've gotten off to a wrong start. every statement / attempt of reparation fails in hindenburg proportions.) we sang happy birthday, ate cate and chomped on apples, mangos, grapes, and watermelon. in the mix came a cup of tea. one cup turned to two. two turned to three. three turned into too much...
(yes, i am listing to the jackson five while writing this...)
my body is quite sensitive to many stimuli. caffeine is like crack. one drop makes me freak out with thriller like proportions. sometimes, i can beat it. other times, it makes me travel to the single moment in time where i lifted the glass (and in this case) clinked with fellow revelers...
with today's/yesterday's time being moped introspective, i've got a few things that seem to be on the tip of my tung i can finally articulate... but knowing that today/tomorrow brings a new day, i wonder how they will change...
first, the world's state of nature is predicated on a single toothpick stuck in the gums of one man who will never be seen, heard from, nor contacted. like an evil puppet master, his tricks and dirty deeds come dirt cheap. (AC/CD) as it is up to us to fight his insanity, i have discovered these A... B... C... or is it easy as 1... 2... 3...??? (yeah, sometimes the jackson 5 and AC/DC work well together.)
come on, come on, come on, come on, let me show you what's it's all about... (dance, twirl, clap)
i think in due time, this list will get blown out to seven items... in the meantime, i've only discovered four... the other three are buried between here (hawaii) and Antarctica.
##. Tools / Language...
unlike hammers and shovels, modern technology requires a bit of skilled operation. if it's a training video or a simple instruction manual. the hammers and shovels of the 21st century require a bit of education. the tools we use to build the 21st century village are predicated in english. from construction, labeling, manuals, you name it... more than likely it was written in english and then translated. this education therefor limits the number of people who can pick up a cheap computer and bang away until a great cathedral is built. for native multilingual content, software must break the bounds of english.
unicode and open standards are the solution.
##. We the media in order to form a more perfect union...
first, like preschool, participation is key. second, the face of media needs to change from the hands of the few to the hands of the many. if tools are pliable, we no longer need to force feed our-self's idotiocracy. then we can speak our own minds.
citizen video units are the solution.
##. Confluence of the space time continuum, sprinkled with the spice of McFly...
since mcfly jr joined doc in the flying delorean, i've always been amazed with time travel. to be honest, i think we are stuck in a brief moment of time where we would rather write our own history than read what came before us. maybe it's the concept that old is... well old... i think old is the new pink!
it seems that so many lessons have been lost on the "educated" public. there are so many things we think are the new hotness, when in reality the old hotness should be cataloged into the new hotness. i'm not saying let's live in history, but that there are quite a few lessons to learn from history.
personally, there are many historical lessons i am starting to unearth. i've also started to see how "digital" is nothing more than enhanced "organic" matter. as we move though time, we tear down walls instead of building them. instead of depleting resources we should be inventing new ones. instead of standing still, we should be jumping and screaming at the top of our lungs saying "nanana, i don't believe you!"
flying delorians powered by a reactors the size of a cuzinarts is the solution.
##. the myth of scarcity...
i'm calling bullshit on this theory. i don't know why yet... but the solution will come when i have a time to get a phd in macro/micro economic philosophy. btw, didn't the world's top one percent make more than the bottom ninety-nine added up?
i'm not a socialist but i think something is wrong in our current solution.
##. faith, the belief not the perfume...
faith, like love, is not something you put on every saturday or sunday. it's time we get rid of this mama's boys talk about beliefs and realize that working WITH someone is better than saying my god is bigger than your god. last time i checked, there is only one planet and he/she/it is pissed we're poking holes, bleading the inner core and shaving off all the trees. ha, if earth was your little brother, he'd hate you.
having faith in yourself.
i'm just a few hours departing from the other-side of the globe, and i can't stop thinking about the mental victory i have accomplished. when i started this trip and for the first two months, i found myself struggling to leap over my own fears and jump into a different mental state. to be honest, this journey was conceived from a state of frustration. almost like a bad dream, i can feel the the veil removed.
i know i say this with a bit of pomp, but climbing around the world really does change one's perspective. yet, for some reason i want to think that i sought out to find a new world. in reality, i sought out this world with a blank slate and a big scooping of faith. when my first few steps skipped across europe, i was scared. i was really really scared. hell, i'm still scared that i won't make it back to NYC, but i have faith that i will. i have faith that regardless of the two negative commons i've received. i have faith this journey will widen the door on a dream we all hold, but find buried in the back of our storage units.
as i've said before, i have faith in the opportunities we construct and the hope of bringing everyone along. when i look across the global horizon, i no longer see a sunset but opportunity. i see faces i don't yet know. i see a world mired in problems and misconceptions. more importantly, i see how simple ideas of inspiration can create a world of faith.
now that i've woken up, climbed out of bed and picked out the eye snot, it's time to realize i have a little over a hundred more days on the road.
i am at my halfway point.
for the past two days i've been blessed to meet some of sydney's most unique personalities. from pia who started dorkbot sydney, piers who built his own open-source content management system, emily who is organizing a one day festival of inspiration, to juan who has given out free hugs for the past three years... these four presented simple ideas to invigorate community and help grow the global grassroots.
thursday, yesterday and today, i was blessed with a unique opportunity to hang out with juan mann and charlie, his silent accomplice. when i first walked up to juan and gave him a hug, a smile grinned from ear to ear.
yesterday, i was amazed to discover that juan and charlie, like noneck, is just an assumed identity. in a world filled with assumptions, it was amazing to find juan and charlie working to break the barriers of our walled gardens. through love and faith, juan has opened his arms and now (pseudoly convinced charlie) to open their home.
embracing a world of strangers is nothing new. inviting them into their living room is something totally new. actually, juan's take on open culture is interesting. sure he knows about couchsurfing, creative commons and open source. up until he decided to open his living room it didn't really have anything to do with his day to day... now that he's embarking on a open door policy, he's opening the door to open source and open culture.
the follow is intended as a primer for juan's new vlog/blog/social media endeavor. seeing how we both want to see more community based content, i'm going to share my thoughts and let you decide on what to do next...
first, one should think about the character you want to play. are you a devil? are you an angel? are you both? do you happen to look like a super model? does it matter?!
NOPE! if you're thinking about being a real character, do it... who cares?!?! it's your show... remember, on the internet no one knows you are a dog...
now you've realized that you are a dog, you have to think about many things... the dog house, the lawn, where your dog house is located, the fancy dish bowl, the sleeping mat, the food, the collar, the flea spray (which is a must if you're traveling around the world) and most importantly... the color of your dog house. (btw, there's no real correlation between the dog metaphor and what i'm going to write so don't be looking into the deeper meaning. just remember it is a dog eat dog world. RUFF!)
the dog house / your camera and/or studio... what type of environment are you going to set up in? is it loud? do you plan on going outside? do really want to have michael jackson's 80's "beat it" poster on the wall. if you're like me... it's a yes to all of them... if you're going to be outside, think of a camera that has an external mic connection and a mechanism to hold a shot gun mic. if you've got the dog food, see if you can find a camera with an XLR input. honestly, get your hands on different camera models, and see what works for you. don't trust one blog over another.
if you are in a pinch, get a cheap camera with an external audio input and purchase the external audio input contraption. 99% of sound from built in mics SUCK. any-who, if you're going to be uploading to youtube, your video quality doesn't need to be super high def. just make sure you get good sound!
btw, since you let me sleep on your set, it's important to tell your host's not to wear white or a color that matches your couch. i'm sure 6 months from now you'll be playing with 70's special effects and will find yourself in a world of hurt when the blouse of the most recent drug addict knocks on your door and happens to match the paint. so make sure you have a color contrast, and for stage lighting you might want to invest in some dim bulbs for your midnight reading/bathroom lamp/shop light.
the color of your dog house / think of your audience. who's your community? who's your audience? how can you tap them to make a difference? are the first questions you should ask... roll the dice on the first few hours of footage. from my observation, be yourself. you're one hell of a guy and the world needs to know the awesomeness charlie gets to love...
the lawn / the community. first, don't poop willy nilly. when you "gotta go" make sure it's not dumping too hard on someone. second, make sure you try everything in your power to participate and help build up a local (sydney) vlogger community. (maybe the first should go before the second? but if you're crazy character, #1 should come before #2... shit, i now see another pun... oh, and there is another one...)
if there's not a regular vlogger drinking session, create one. if there's not a monthly social, start one. if you don't know whom to invite, poke around metro blogger email lists on google or yahoo (if they exist), otherwise type in ("city"+video+rant) into a search engine, and then email the first gnarly video. you can also tap into the local barcamp, dorkbot or associative geek/art communities.
finally, when you get a really popular show or if you are already a young adventurous producer, investigate NING, but more importantly, check out the jetset show's mix or ask a ninja's fan club - it's pretty much hit every nail on it's head penetrating a nice solid cross pollination between show and interactivity.
(insert zadi's signature snaps here.)
the fancy dish bowl & dog food. let's say you are like juan and want to invite random people from the internet to your house. here's a tip... invite your friends to seed the show then you'll have coned the world people are really coming to your house.
more importantly, think of your friends and how their personalities can make you comfortable in front of a camera. then start recording. friends are GREAT subjects of experimentation. then, work your way up the food chain and invite random people whom you've had contact with over the past few years.
the sleeping mat, or your editing station and workflow. first, don't think you need some fancy-dancy laptop, hard drive, camera, software. i started off using a three year old powerbook, imovie and a borrowed camera. now i'm using a macbook with final cut express and a camera that is somewhat a pain in the ass to log footage.
if you are going to jump into the HD pond, it's a pain in the ass to stay afloat. to boot, finding the time to encode, edit, mix, then re-encode and upload is time consuming. just getting the hang of different editing techniques is a whole bag of wax that will make you envy Madame Tussaud. (the subconscious translation of this para - don't follow in my foot steps, by buying a camera and think it will be a simple flickr upload. it's snot, but with enough time and nasal decongestant you will become a pro!)
the food, the grub / getting your shit out there. i use blip.tv for web playback / syndication engine. what does that mean? once i've uploaded a quicktime file, i can wrap my podcast into my drupal blog and then configure (what seems like) a million and one other external connections to host my show. (por juan) then again, you have youtube connections and you shouldn't be scared in uploading your show to multiple locations... just look at the jetset show or rocketboom and see the multiple feeds they produce. it really does pay off to be diverse.
i would also advise a simple blogging engine like wordpress or blogger (if you're going to tap the google bling). BUT!!! i would highly advise that you look for a solution that wraps your blog's content and your video/audio content into the same RSS / XML feed. if it can't be done, you really shouldn't use it as your blogging engine. i know drupal can do it, but then again i know drupal can also make a vegimite and cucumber sandwich. (yes, drupal is that cool!!!)
the collar, the bling, or the communication network. social network sites, photostream, twitter, etc...
after spending three days with you AND your personality, i would go full tilt and start making your life transparent. first, it's all about wielding a bat in a china shop... don't be scared to be audacious in mobile comments (twitter) or candid photos of finefair tuna cans (flickr) and then when it comes to your blog, kick out the jams. you AND your personality are prime candidates for an MD from interweb comedical university. only you can resuscitate an exhausted web wasted world.
the flea spray, or how to keep the pests away. sadly, you invited me in and you're going to need to order some of this... :P
ok. that's all the free advice i can afford. after this, any consulting must be payed in hugs or good jokes... i'm so honored to have you as my friend!
around the time of my departure, CC Chapman asked me a bunch of questions. while his questions were always on my to-do list, i found myself pushing them aside. then on my last day in delhi, i found myself without power, in the middle of a gnarly rainstorm and without a penny to my name.
while i love CC's enthusiasm, there's a story that you might hear in my voice. when i started the two most recent interviews (jetset & cc's podcast) i was sitting in ashish's apartment, running around trying to understand my own space and my own workflow. too boot, i discovered that didn't have any money to make further travel plans. stuck in delhi i fretted about how to move forward.
so i was depressed, pissed, and concerned... after a few twitters and a few hours later, i discovered who where the real supporters of this adventure...
thank you all!
your enthusiasm has carried me around the world! i'm really lucky to know that my dreams are not just something one can conjure from random blog posts... my dreams are not alone. my dreams are wrapped in a never ending global conversation of hope and opportunity.
THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!
so i've arrived in sydney! it's my last town in the global south for a little over a month. for the past two nights, i was in the delightful company of ben balbo, simon roberts and a slew of other melbourne geeks who's time was fleeting but memorable. it's truly remarkable how a the drop of a hat we can chat and see a networked world of opportunity. thanks gang!
(btw, if you're looking for my ugly mug in sydney... find me tomorrow morning at Coffee Mornings)
this morning, Janet Hawtin sent me the YouTube video above. to my surprise, Juan from Free Hugs has crafted an open invite for anyone to stop by his house and hang out. as a huge fan of people allowing others to work / hang out / hack at their house, this is surely going to be a treat!
not only does it seem that i'll be one of the first "youtubers" to visit, as my Sydney plans unfurl, my last few days seem to be overwhelming! nonetheless, you can count on me to make the best of a limited schedule... if you have any advice, tips, tricks. send them my way!!!
WED NIGHT - 17 Oct
- sleep on bus.
THURSDAY - 18 Oct
- 08h30 arrival at Sydney's bus station.
- morning, find wifi, have breakfast, coordinate contacts. (anyone have recommendations?)
- post-noon, meet up at Pitt Street Mall in the centre of Sydney with juan from FREE HUGS. we will hug people. (thanks janet for the introduction!)
- 19h00, sydney web standards meetup to hear jo kay talk about second life and mick liubinskas talk about "a trillion tiny transactions" (thanks christy dena for the invite.)
ps - anyone have a place for me to lay my head? it appears i forgot to coordinate a proper place to crash?
FRIDAY - 19 Oct
- 08h00 blogger breakfast at single origin. (thanks emily reed)
- Free day to document my final thoughts on australia with nice touristic backdrops. (editor's note - if anyone want's to be my host that would be fan-tab-ioulus!!!)
- Work my way to Juan's house and document any YouTuber's who show up / make our own YouTube video discussing the importance of an "open door policy" - (also see Coworking & Work at Jelly)
- Evening - Dinner with a Barcamp Sydney Organizers
- Spend the night at Juan's house.
SATURDAY - 20
- pack / organize / fret.
- 14h00 depart for airport and subsequently the United States of America. (i can't wait to find out what questions i'll be asked at customs.)
ok, now i'm off to explore melbourne!
btw, if you click on the photo, you'll be taken to a series of photos shot whilst on the road in AUS.
so in a long and winding road of woes, i've acquired a new set of travel companions.
they are microscopic, can live months on a single meal and are quite a annoying. they are the worst traveling companions one could possibly have. they are fleas. while i'm not exactly sure i have them, i am finding myself bothered by an increasing number of bug bites that seem to originate from nowhere.
in other traveling news. i'm now in melbourne in the humble abode of Ben Balbo, barcamper/flosser/super generous host.... and when i say host, i'm referring to the concept that i'm a flea in his house ;)
tomorrow night (aka 16 October 2007, which more than likely is today because i'm posting this message on the morning of the 16th) ben and a few others will be meeting at the Niagara Hotel (383 Lonsdale St) around 6 or 6.30pm for drinks, dinner and socializing.
come one, come all! ....just don't forget to bring the anti-ich cream. :)
on my last day in adelaide, i was honored to be picked up by Janet Hawtin (an early supporter of this project) and her partner. then to be driven into "the hills" for a series of interviews with a group of geeks from IT share. without janet's support, i wouldn't have been introduced to the wonderful group of geeks who volunteer endlessly building computers for no/low income citizens of the adelaide metro area. no words can express my thanks for her selflessness, introductions and coordination of schedules on my brief stay.
(when you get a chance, check out a card game she's created to explain creative commons. btw, it's GPL'ed for you to rework. apparently beth kantor has recompiled a different configuration.)
as for today's interviews, whew! for two hours, i fired off a series of questions interrogating five members of IT share. limited in time because i started my day late (happy birthday jo and kt!!!), i found myself interviewing geeks who have built an international computer recycling project.
headquartered in the lion's club of bridgewater, IT share meets on a weekly basis to teach others how to build, use, and repair computers. then, these systems are either donated or sold at a low cost to residents of the adelaide metro area.
just recently, IT share, through the help of santos and the australian government, sent a container filled with computers to a hospital in the capitol of timor. armed with F/OSS, the IT Share team deployed over 30 computers, built the hospital's first computer network, connected the network to the internet and educated a team of geeks...
thank you gang! it was a pleasure to meet all of you, talk about your projects and hear how you're hard work is paying off...
yesterday (day 99), i kicked around adelaide, interviewing artists, and gallery hopping with a random acquaintance of jo's.
it really funny to think about how we're all connected. when i landed on friday (day 98), i sat at jo's place of employment (a swank tea bar named "t bar") sipping coffee and wifi. after meeting jo and coordinating a limited schedule of engagements (dinner, breakfasts, birthday party), i departed to find a second hand store (i hoped to acquire a knit cap and/or light jacket - i've spent the past three months prancing in summer weather and am completely under dressed for the cold AUS spring) and find an electrical outlet/fat wifi pipe to upload episode 19 (which never happened due to a crazy WIFI setup).
nonetheless, at 4pm i returned to jo's place of employment for a quick tour of central market and adelaide. as we were walking out, jo ran into akira, an adelaide based sculpture. after a brief introduction and mutual acceptance of randomness, the three of us walked out into the city streets. after an exchange of phone numbers and promises of meeting up on saturday, the three departed ways.
back to yesterday (day 99)... after two days of not sleeping, i grabbed 12 hours of rest, woke up, took a very hot shower, donned my new skull cap, packed up my laptop, hard drive, camera, ipod, and spare batteries. not knowing what to expect, i was gearing my self to do anything.
meeting back at the T bar, akira and i departed from jo's birthday preparations and ventured into the wilderness 1.1 million call adelaide. winding through the windy streets, akira and i talked about our travels and history), how we know jo, his art, our passions, the city and adelaide's new/old tram system which was to open today (sunday, day 100). arriving at the downtown art space, we met up with two very hung over artists / directors / friends. after a bit of quite conversation sans any loud noises, i got the two to spill the beans on adelaide's premier community gallery.
then as quickly as we entered, we quietly tip-toed out of the gallery and walked thought the desolate streets of addy's seedy side of town. (honestly, it's just one street three blocks long with a handful of strip clubs, bars with "pokies" aka slot machines and an honest to god "quick-e-mart".) as the day started late, we found our self just in time to use experimental art foundation's bathroom and by happenstance to meet teri hoskin.
(now this is where it gets weird...)
teri is researching a position at the new school. the new school is located in new york. i use to live in new york (well my permeant address is still in nyc) and i use to attend events at the new school. i also looked at the new school as an undergraduate alternative, but never got further than drinking their cheap wine and cheaper cheese squares. BUT i did get a good understanding of the new school's offerings and could answers teri's question on the new school.
as the conversation progressed, we realized that the new school, new york, akira, and experimental multimedia art were not the only things we have in common. tucked away on the other side of the world (aka nyc), sits one woman whom i've emailed and never received an response. this same woman is the former boss of a one Winnie Fung, a friend and not an alternative member (aka brooklyn coworking). this same woman is good friends with houndbee's girlfriend - houndbee and i met in delhi at oss camp and he rocks audio sound scapes... amazingly, this woman is not just some random person, but the executive director of eyebeam!
how awesome is that?!?! i wonder when amanda and i will finally meet? i wonder how many more of amanda's friends will i randomly meet? i wonder if amanda could possibly be the new media artist code and i just don't get it yet...
well... it's now officially day 101 and i have to wake up at 5 am and catch a train to melbourne...
simon slater, a fellow traveler from the UK and around america 2.0's cousin, emailed me a bunch of really good questions.
when i taught at Digital Bridge Camp, i had an opportunity to meet fellow vlogger freeman murray. though our frank discussions, we agreed that once on the road it's hard to reflect. if you have any questions, comments, ideas, concepts, feedback or suggestions - i'm always open to new ideas.
if you've been following my twitter feed, i've recently had to respond to some unjust criticism. hopefully, the critical party will allow me to publicly post my response. until then, here are my thoughts to simon's questions.
1. How have you gone about finding agents of social change, and can you describe the outcome of the most notable meeting? Have you discovered any new ideas that can be shared? Have you come across any major environmental breakthroughs?
one question? looks like a three parter to me... :P finding agents of social change has been a bit easier to find than original imagined. i have a fair share of sources that i read (slashdot, globalvoices, other blogs) then i have friends and contacts who've been monitoring different conversations to provided extra input. for example, i was exchanging a few ideas on a facebook "wall-to-wall" when Mary Joyce, chimed in and sent me a list of email address, urls and phone numbers of people whom i should contact in cairo. very helpful and super timely.
the most notable meeting was with stalin k. of drishti media collective and video volunteers. through their work, a few rural villages in india have their own video news magazine. with a majority of the population "uneducated" and "illiterate", drishti and video volunteers helps organize small groups of regional villagers to create citizen video units or CVUs. these citizen video units film, edit, produce their own stories, detailing their solutions to rural problems. every month, the video is presented in regional rural villages and conversations are held discussing the subjects from jungle malaria remedies, farming tips or general news of who's doing what.
in short, the villagers create their own media. as we move from one form of entertainment to another, we too need think about our own citizen video units.
as for major environmental breakthroughs, naw... we're still screwed... i think my major breakthrough came when i went to the local markets in india and cambodia and saw that everyone uses plastic bags and plastic bottles. then when i walked the surrounding streets, i saw the same type of bags littered everywhere. if we really want to clean up our environment and change the way the world works, we need to change the way we think. connivence isn't everything.
2. During events where people from the world of vlogging and blogging come to meet and share ideas, is there a general consensus on a particular direction that the world of SNS is taking us, or are the possibilities endless?
well, it depends on whom you ask. some think it's going to augment or replace the news-reporters of tomorrow. other's think their blog is the end all be all. if you ask me, i'm tired of living in a broadcast world. if video killed the radio star, vlogs killed TV. i see the future of media in outlets like Alive in Baghdad, Video Volunteers, Jetset, The Burg.tv... well that's just to name my friends... these outfits throw debt to the wind and refuse to allow anyone else dictate their "feed"... somewhere between networked journalism and citizen journalism is the future. (see jay rosen & jeff javius for more fun)
in reality, the possibilities are endless. one has to think of the internet and the devices that connect to the network it as tools. these tools, like hammers and shovels, can be used to build or destroy anything. from complete virtual worlds to a simple connection between two people, i don't see these "things" as just tools but pathways connecting emotions. regardless of where emotions happen, they are real. the other reality is that this world can easily be flipped and everything we do can be monitor, tracked and controlled. chris messina wrote an interesting piece on "big sister" but until that day, we still have agents of power "reforming" long lasting liberties into shadows of their former self. just take a look at the past three issues of the economist where they detailed the erosion of civil liberties within britain and the united states.
wether it's a hammer, shovel or iphone, i prefer to see tools build society not destroy it. then again, anything is possible... we could be nursing a life force that will kill us one day by building the next atom bomb. as of today, science fiction has turned out to be fairly real. who knows what's next?!?!
3. Your trip aims to inform and inspire ideas among its viewers. Considering the high number of young people taking gap years before and after higher education, in what other ways do you think people can follow your example without necessarily repeating your idea? Did you have any other plans formulated before embarking on 'luck of seven'?
actually, i started this trip to educate my parents on the work that i've done. it's since then, i've found my own inspiration within the voices of everyone whom i've met. i think that the "gameboy" or "myspace" or "facebook" generation needs to see how their goods are produced... it doesn't really matter what you consume, there needs to be some type of physical connection to the items we consume from cold air conditioned shelfs.
first, i know that i'm really lucky to have the fortunate to make this voyage. as every day passes, i think about how we can change our lives to help others and make this mess a bit tidier. internal and external exploration is the key. i see the world a bit more conservative than i first thought, but also very friendly. you don't have to have a penny to be nice. dream frequently and follow your passion. if we only have one life, make sure it counts for something. if we have more than one, let them build on top of each other... last time i checked, there is only one earth but a several billion people on it... question everything, explore what you can and try to understand the rest.
did i have any plans other plans? yes, but being the first lawyer on mars really doesn't seem to be appealing.
4. Could you explain what you mean when you say there is an 'art' to discovering, for example, someones facebook page?
yes and no. when i talk about discovering people i talk about two things - a physical meeting and an online meeting. as there are tricks to meeting people, there are tricks in meeting people online.
a physical meeting is the hardest. one has to be inquisitive and highly adventurous to ask the right questions that lead to a common bond to build a platform for further conversation. regardless of gender, it is a simple pickup line. with native english speakers it's easier. with ESL (english second language) it becomes harder but ten times more rewarding. i say it's an art because like art it is hard to find the beauty within everyone. i know everyone has something worth admiring.
as for meeting people online, most people place a good deal of personal information into their profile, and therefore it's easy to "profile" people. more importantly, it's easy to find people with similar interest. when it comes down to couchsurfing, there is a great deal of trust between two parties. therefore it's important to look at someone's profile details and see if they share similar interests (photos, interests, groups, books, movies, etc). it sounds easier than reality. sometimes i'm right, sometimes i'm wrong. most of the time, i'm right about a few things and wrong about others. in the end it comes down to the adventure.
also, i can't help to think that it helps looking like broad brutish male. when i seek adventure, i feel safe knowing many people won't give me flack. when i talk to female friends about their adventures, there always seems to be a question of physcial security that never comes to mind when i travel. then again, huixian he, a petite female friend in pheom phen, has traveled a good deal of asia by herself. sure she's had a few bad experiences, but she's always has her running shoes.
in the end, looking like a sucker will always get you into trouble. having a positive outlook and being ready for anything is the best way to take on the world. it takes a great deal to escape your comfort zone, but meeting the world is well worth it. i'd like to think that there are more of "us" than "them."
5. Will you be seeking a platform for greater recognition of potentially important ideas that you have gathered once you have returned? Will this branch out to other media and if so how?
yes and no. besides my blog, vlog and photos - i'm writing a children's book, seven lessons learned from the seven continents. maybe an adult piece detailing the intimate parts of my insanity. without a doubt, i will make a documentary film of this journey. when on the road you have a great deal of time to think. i think these ideas and the solutions to these ideas are worth their weight in gold.
in the end, i'd like to think that i'm a simple man, but my girlfriends will tell you otherwise. i see many wrongs that need to be corrected. i also see many complex problems that have simple solutions. where i go after this is unknown. while i would love to have greater recognition of the ideas, these are complex ideas with simple solutions mired in selflessness. i still have a much to learn about the seven issues i have selected, the world that embody them and the best way to discover solutions to our problems.
6. And finally, if Jack Karouac was the inspiration of the term 'beat generation', does this new couch surfing movement have a name?
man that's heavy. if you look at history, you'll always find travelers and 'beatniks.' i'd like to think we are more than 'surfers'. every statistic says we (the global digital middle class) are driving quickly into a world where we refuse to accept broadcast solutions. (i need to find sources, but i know they exist! until then i will just refer to the ecology of free culture solutions that i am exploring on this journey.)
"starfish and the spider" is a simple book that illustrates examples of centralized and decentralized networks. if you look at decentralized networks, you see a starfish. if a starfish is cut in half, it will regenerate the other half. if you look at centralized networks you see a web. if you cut a spider or a web in half, you destroy the network.
as the old New Yorker cartoon illustrates "no one knows your a dog on the internet." i now see generations spanning the technological divide. as our ideas grow, replicate and get remixed, i see us in an androgynous world. frankly, regardless of time zone, age, gender, race, income and nationality we are making a starfish generation.