(photo flickr user jpmatth, click on image for the amazing original!)
with my long distance train adventures in north america, i've always wondered how the united states can kick out the jams and revolutionize it self as a leader in long distance transportation. if you've ever ridden a long distance train, you know the beauty of sitting back and letting the conductor do the driving. in north america, it's not always the quickest, but it sure is the most beautiful journey. away from the distractions of modernity and transportation infrastructure, amtrak takes one though the wondrous back road of america.
with a verizon EDVO usb adapter connected to my mac and my mac plugged into one of the few three pronged 120 volt electrical outlets, i'm cruising the country side working away at changing the world.
while the food is hearty, it's really not healthy. the tracks on the other hand are a cluster mess. most of this journey has featured long winding turns on single pair of tracks. stopping for freight or other passenger trains has delayed us by a few hours. ever so often we pass by a freeway, a orchard, vineyard, or small town. inch by inch we craw down the west coast of america.
with the cost of petroleum increasing and gas prices on the verge, i wonder if it's time we take a few pages from the open community playbook and think about pulling our resources together and see if this great nation can spearhead a nationwide conversation on alternative transportation. if you don't know about the unconference, it is a workshop like / peer to peer conference where individuals present issues, problems, solutions or host conversations to the issues surround the central topic.
just imagine if ordinary citizens from around the nation gathered in homes, community centers, schools, etc to talk about what they can do to change their transportation woes?
imagine if each group went to city hall and invited the transportation director to chat with them.
imagine actually engaging them in conversation.
imagine not inviting them, and formulating your own alternative plan and then visiting city hall?
imagine taking a few pictures, writing up a mini-press release and sending it to the newspaper to say "we did it! we're planning another one! we want you to join us!"
imagine if Amtrak riders around the country submitted THEIR ideas and plans on what amtrak could do to improve service... (ie healthier food, wifi, more outlets, etc...)
imagine if they filled in a wiki and promoted it on trains and had people vote for their favorite ideas.
someone should contact my buddy Tomas Purves and ask him to open up transit camp's framework.
(click on your fav gender for more pictures from vangroovy.)
like a jewel in a crown, vancouver sits atop north america's granola coast. this glisting gem hold the sparkle of many a geeks eye - a political party that incorporates FLOSS into it's charter, an organic network of evangelists building an 802.11b mesh network to blanket the city, a drupal/barcamp revolutionary, a computer recycling organization which harvests discarded computers for environmentally friendly recycling and helps homeless people connect to the internet... as if that wasn't enough, vangroovy is home to the worlds most popular citizen journalism news site - nowpublic.com
my friends, that's just the beginning... i wasn't able to meetup with workspace (one of the original coworking locations) nor the countless other drupal nor linux geeks who inhabit canada's most temperate climate. oh and did i forget to mention that vancouver had a very "healthy" merry-jane community? not that i'm into it, but the vangroovyites seem to be proud. combine the fact that the restaurants are delicious, the night life / arts community thriving, there's abundant coffee strong and a growing culture of brew pubs... vangroovy got's a groovy thing going on...
it's not like all of this fell into place. each one of the individuals whom i met spent years working with others to building their ideal city. the city isn't perfect. there's quite a bit of homelessness, drug abuse, displacement of affordable housing and gentrification.
through each of my interviews, everyone paraphrased the same statement "we're here, we're not moving away and we want to make a difference."
my time in van-groovy is totally groovy. the past 24 hours has shown me the wonders of a cohesive geek scene built on the same philosophy. it's amazing to see the hive buzz...
speaking of buzz, i'd hope that you'd take some time to come visit me at the following events in van-groovy and columbus.
bbq at bryght / raincity studios
thursday, 8 nov @ noon-thirty-ish
1 Alexander Street Suite 400, in Gastown close to Waterfront station
columbus blogger / social media club meeting
thursday, 15 nov @ 6.30 pm to 9ish (facebook info)
333 west broad st, c-bus, ohio
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