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).
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!
microphone photo by hiddedevries
i now have four speaking engagements lined up...
new york city, usa
2 feb 2008 - as detailed in yesterday's post, starting at 5pm (18h00) i'll be talking into a bottomless barrel of booze. (facebook event info) you are all invited to help me conclude seven months around the world! if you can't make it, buy me a virtual beer and contribute!
6 through 8 feb 2008 - i'll be at the LIFT conference pipping out the merits of free culture and the global empowerment. while i will be giving a five minuet speech, i'll also be giving a three hour workshop! (don't think i'm wealthy, i'm working barback at this conference. i still have $700 to fundraise, help a bro out?)
new york city, usa
5 march 2008 - dorkbot nyc, location one, soho, @ 7pm - my buddy douglas found an opportunity for my goods to be shown in-front of nyc's largest geek community! (meetup is for nurds, dorkbot is for geeks! this is all tung and cheek, we'all b family!)
15 - 16 march 2008 - barcamp nyc 3. without a doubt i'll be presenting something...
not an alternative, brooklyn, ny - upon my return in late feb, we're talkin an evening conversation with drinks, DJ's, and a chariot with seven horsemen... ;)
i'd love to crash SXSW interactive or the film segment. then again, so would the rest of the world... if you think i'm worthy. please bless me with your grace.
if you have a class or community group that would be interested in having me connect via the tubes, i'd love to connect the dots.
photo from punkjr on flickr
item #1, advice from my father.
today, i received a few inspirational notes from my father... while i know they are a bit muffled in verse, i was able to hear the sweet tone of loving comfort. let me hum a few bars...
"don't stop thinking about tomorrow. don't stop it'll soon be here. It'll be better than before. why not think about times to come, and about the things that you've done..."
yes, sometimes it's hard to distinguish between my father and fleetwood mac...
the past year has taught me more lessons than i could have possibly dreamed. those dreams found people who not only believed in exploration, but believed that collectively we can accomplish our dreams. though every hello, hug or heaping plate of food, we did it. collectively we've explored the internet world, but we're not done yet.
now i find myself in a precarious position. every night, i dream about the places i've been and the things i've done. painfully, i roll and roll debating endlessly what's the best way to engage the world within this dream, and how to make a living. i checked my bank account and only found $75... but more on that later...
so now, here i am back in america trying to understand everything i've done and make sense of where i'd like to see the world... honestly, it's stressful carving out a grandiose vision of the future based on seven short months. any-who, so work for the children's book presses on...
item #2, my nyc return.
after thinking that i should call my good buddy jonathan, i carelessly blasted out an email routing people to a bar which in perfect pursuit of happiness should be at the end of places to experience in brooklyn. don't get me wrong, it's not a bad place... it's just a better place to end the night. in lew of this miss judgement, jonathan and i are crafting a triumphant return to brooklyn. (btw, you might remember jonathan as the partner of val; the two glorious hosts at the start of the journey...)
yeah, so i'm returning to NEW YORK CITY on saturday, FEB 2nd at 3pm (15h00). well, that's when my plane lands... i'll then find my way onto the subway, down the long corridors of the MTA and then into the arms of a few friends. while i'm jazzing my way back to billyburg, i need you to grab your camera and some ridiculous looking outfit and make your way to the hipster capital of the world.
starting at 5pm (18h00) you are invited to meet me at 303 bedford ave, brooklyn, ny. the bar is/was called wells, but don't worry about a thing. we're commandeering the sound system and maybe brute forcing a discount (thats'a joke, jon is a bartender and we might get a sweet deal if enough people show up). afterward, we'll saunter over to IONA and then over to the keystone bar of the night, SPUYTEN DUYVIL.
item #3, the future as mentioned in the past.
as my around the world journey ends, a new one begins. i am so poor you won't believe how poor i am. over the past two months i've spent less that $600 USD to get by. for the past month, i've been beggin for handouts and frothing at the mouth for free food. i've max'd out my only credit card (actually i owe them $800 in late charges). i've got $75 bucks in my checking account, and $8 dollars in my wallet.
if you look at my ticker, i still have $700 USD to fundraise (which won't even cover my credit cards, but i've called them and they "kinda understand")... and if the phone call from my roommate is any indication my housing situation, i'm gonna need to kick in close to $900 in rent...
so what does this mean to you, the reader... well, one thing... my life has taught me to follow my heart and build on what i've learned. next week, when i land in a foreign country without a euro in my pocket, i will proudly stand in front of some of the world's smartest and extoll tales of our journey together. (for you geeks out there, LIFT is like TED but for normal people.)
if you haven't pre-purchased a copy of the luck of seven children's book, i hope you consider contributing $11.11 USD. if 70 people purchase a copy, i won't ask for another cent... (that's until i start the mel brooks swag campaign) if you've contributed and can contribute a little more, that would be awesome! thank you for making dreams come true!
a big thanks to the most recent contributors - KUSHTRIM XHAKLI, Megumi Nishikura, and Joe Vieira.
(btw, i'm also need a job, if you know of anyone who's looking for a well skilled student of new media, send them my resume...)
i don't know how to title this entry, let alone what to say.
my departure from houston is a mixed blessing. 55 days from now, i will arrive in nyc. 55 days from now, i will complete my journey. 55 days from now, my heart and mind will see the world like i've never seen the world before...
unlike other departures, i found something unescapable. wrapped in beauty, dipped in southern comfort, educated in the complexities of humanity's humor, i found something that will bring me to houston time and time again. 50 some odd days from now, i will embrace someone who's reaffirmed my belief in humanity's never ending quest to solve our deepest problems. like the other side of a coin, the two of us are tied to this place named earth seeking to solve the cancer that grows in all of us.
for the next 55 days, i will have a cancer that only one person can cure.
(this awesome photo is from flickr user leppre - check out frosty sunrise 2 in full detail!)
a week in ohio has brought about an level of personal intimacy that i wouldn't have found any where else. with less funds than i need, i've sprawled out on my childhood bed spending countless hours planning the next four months. between east coast offers of a roving camera man & thoughts of giving up, i find myself in a precarious position.
my life in ohio is simple. my life on the east coast seems extravagant. this journey around the world seems extraordinary. yet, i still look in the mirror every morning and see the same short bearded face. when i look down, i see the same small hands. with a warn out seat, my pants are five years too told. my socks holy. my back, feet, arms and legs feel the burden of the world.
my 29 years on this planet have been extraordinary. it's taken me quite a while to truly understand the detachment my parents gave me. growing up in the last decade of the cold war, in a small bedroom community of a military base, i was exposed to a world far beyond the reach of the three creeks that surrounded my suburban ohio house.
the journey from california to ohio is normal, a loving military couple moves to maximize wealth and opportunity to provide for themselves and their young sapling. a few years later, another young sapling comes along. all the while, the two work endlessly to teach their children of the family tree and the world's forests.
as the older sapling grows, the world takes it toll - accidents, fires, health issues, etc... but eventually the sapling realizes that the world's forest are massive. as he grows, he hears things that don't make any cense. he reads things that seem to have no tangible relationship to the world he lives in. yet, for some reason these stories are the notable stories - for some reason, these stories are the constitution of public discourse.
confuse by their importance and lusting after a deeper meaning - not all of these stores are lost. this young sapling knows that his forest and all the animals that inhabit the surrounding area must be similar to the one he reads.... they must be similar to all the stories he's been told... to all the stories he's dreamt... and with a slight hand of a shovel, he packs his roots, loads up an old VW van and departs to visit the forest beyond.
from the forests out east he sees an urban forest where trees are valued but not harvested. up and down the american coast he finds others who seek a grander meaning from sea to shining sea. across the sea, older sapling and taller trees that seek a similar exploration. across the world the sapling sees the stories, views first hand and oogles images of forests far and beyond - locations with out a single tree in sight - vast beaches of stubborn shrubs rooted on tiny rocks - vast urbanities where all trees have been removed...
all in all, after countless accidents, fires, health issues, loves and losts... returns to his original forest for a feast. like the year before and like any year after, the feast is more like any other family's... filled with it's unique quirkiness and unbeholden to any austere tradition - this family sits around revels in each other's stories, branches and quirks for a specialty ordered feast.
within a few days, this sapling once again departs into the unknown. this sapling has done it before. he's traveled the paths, climbed the rocks, trolled along the beaches and buried his head in the sand a few times. off in the distance there is a mountain, paths to the top are unknown, unproven and most fo the time unrewarding to anyone but itself.
beneath the ground, this sapling sees roots of many colors, shapes, sizes, from a million and one time zones. this sapling knows the roots are strong, healthy and ready to spring forth a new alternative ecosystem based on healthier soil.
while this sapling doesn't quite know his own destination, height or width - he's grown to know the trees, valleys and streems. he knows the glory of unity, the power of diversity, and the love of the world. he knows that he couldn't have done it without the unflinching support of a global family firmly rooted in passion.
thank you. blessing be with us all.
the midwest is a funny place. i know that every place i've gone and meet a fellow midwesterner, i've always found a feller of good company.
smack dab in regional stereotypes, the east and west look at my home state as a humble populous smack dab in between cornfields and coal mines, to the north a short congressman who's vegan and running for president and to the south, the home of makers mark.
i, on the other-hand know something a bit different. i know that ohio is home to six us presidents (that makes it second to NY to the number of US presidents)! i know ohio is home to the wright brothers, thomas edison, granville woods, charles kettering, blue jacket, and tecumseh.
i know that when the economy of the US is on the rocks, ohio has been on the rocks for a few months longer. i know that when the housing market crashes, i can find a desperate home owners in ohio. i know when ohio votes for a president, that president wins.
i know that ohio is at the heart of it all!
as my skybus descended through the clouds, i saw magnificent fields of crops and never-ending suburban sprawl. when the wheels made contact with earth, the precipitation contacting the plane was sleet. yet i new this was no cold welcoming. i walked out of a warm aircraft and flip-floped my way across a cold tarmac into one of the oldest airports in american history, port columbus international airport.
through the maze of walkways, foot paths, escalators, and ramps, i found my anxious parents, impatient brother and a very slow baggage claim. (in all honestly, the slowest baggage claim is in ahmedabad india. in a town known for their ice cream consumption to be some of the highest in the world, ahmedabad's baggage trollers are greased with sugar and grind to a halt the min any traveler has a destination with a time line.)
...back to columbus... so after a brief recapitulation of the past four months, i found myself in a new (circa 2000) lexus with an electronic navigator and heated seats. though the drizzle, i saw what i knew best, middle america. little did i know that in less than an hour i would find myself knee deep in the muddy river we call the future... surrounded by more questions than answers, i sat in the back seat, chewed on wendy's double patties jalapenoioed cheese hamburger.
slamming a frosty, gulping a dr. pepper and devouring a burger rocketed my shuga levels to another planet. with extremely high levels of fidgety uncertainty, my family and i shook off the sleet and walked into cosi's new GIGANTIC new museum.
COSI, for those of you who are not familiar with columbus, is the center of science and industry. it a commercialized name for columbus' equivalent of a natural history museum. since, ohio developed through the industrial revolution, the monicker "industry" is added for full crowed pleasing affect. too boot, many of the exhibits are underwritten by captains of industry.
in this new iteration of the COSI, WOSU (the broadcast wing ohio state university and home to central ohio's public radio) collaborated in the construction of a monstrosity community TV studio. tucked away in a building open 9 - 5, most of the center was under-utilized... well that was until, this evening when 40 some odd bloggers, tv and radio personalities, newspaper readers, citizens of the greater community, my parents, my brother and i (all daytonion carpetbaggers) got together to discuss one question - "What can we do together that we cannot do alone to make the community better using Social Media."
walking into a TV studio with a ring a chairs and a camera pointed on half of the ring scares many people. it damn near gave me a heart attack, i didn't not expect to be on camera nor did i expect such a group gear up for video documentation. despite the prevalence of camcorders, very few east coast groups have attempted video documentation of their events. too boot, if you've seen a recent picture of me, you'll know that my hobbitin height, bearded facial monstrosity and orange cap always seems to be a bit out of place. surveying the room and seeing many clean shaven folk most in "i just got out of work" attire, i was highly self conscious of a formal meeting with a structured sessions of "we want this" and "can you tell us how solve our problems."
first, up on the wall was a matrix of time slots and locations.
second, i saw a poster advertising the "law of two feet" - Law of Two Feet (also known as the Law of Mobility in settings where participants don't necessarily have the use of both feet) -- a foot of passion and a foot of responsibility -- expresses the core idea of taking responsibility for what you love. In practical terms, the law says that if you're neither contributing nor getting value where you are, use your two feet (or available form of mobility) and go somewhere where you can. It is also a reminder to stand up for your passion. (from wikipedia)
third, i saw the four principles of open space (from wikipedia)...
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- When it's over, it's over
when the facilitator started speaking, my sugga kicked into overdrive and my fidgeting exploded in excitement... i've traveled the world, and there in front of me, there in columbus, ohio, i was watching the future of news. there in front of me sat a diverse group of community members who had come together to discuss how WOSU and COSI can better serve the community.
in the buckeye state i watched the future of "broadcast" media unfold.
in nyc, i've helped organized many of these open space events, and after a serendipitous meeting of david cohn at BarCamp NYC 2, the two of us bounced many ideas off of each other to work on CopyCamp - an unconference for community journalism. (we are in the process of formulating a grander conversation on how open space conversations can improve journalism - both citizen and professional - for now join the google group and let's corral a few news agencies into thinking that this is a good idea.)
for 15 mins, the group sat around trying to understand the next two hours. as people gathered ideas for conversation, people grabbed a sheet of paper, wrote down their two cents and found a space to do discuss the topic. while i desperately wanted to chat about so many things, i wondered how much would i be perceived as a foreigner. with my bearded hobbitin status in full effect, i wrote something down and waited to see who would pose a topic that seemed more suitable. i didn't have to wait too long to get, andrew, from elephants on bicycles, to propose a topic that sounded like "the future of citizen journalism."
after over staying our allotted time, we log rolled from topic to topic... from trust, to linkage, to content, to business models, to the definition of "broadcasting"... on and on, the room tumbled in conversation from Robin Mizell, copyeditor & former newassignment.net contributor, to mike thompson, director of news and public affairs, to susan meyer director of communications and organization planning at WOSU, to tim eby, station manager of WOSU radio, some upper crust members of COSI's management, to a few guys from the barcamp ohio group... and that's just to some of the more vocal members of the group... there was conversational buy in from so many divers parties.
as we ran through the second alloted time session, many ideas splashed up at us..
- FIRST, continue exploring by hosting more open space events that invite the community to help shape the future. just remember, rome was not built overnight.
- use the COSI/WOSU facility as home base for Columbus's tech community (aka meetups, *camps, more open space events, etc).
- investigate the marriage of freelancers and independent workers within a COSI café (aka coworking). also, don't be afraid of turning to daytime events like "work at jelly" to help crystalize personal relationships. (apparently, an international network of science centers is studying how to keep them self community relevant. if anyone can send me contacts, that would be awesome!)
- open up more WOSU programing for community participation by bringing in community experts (specifically expert bloggers, and not just local ones). comically, when we were talking about "experts" or "bloggers" the criteria came from the same place... people who know their stuff and can accurately augment a show. (btw, one should note that mike thompson, director of news and public affairs already pulls in bloggers to augment his line of pundants)
- point listeners/viewers/community members in direction of online communities that feature topical conversation.
- bring in new media students as interns (aka slave labor) and have them experiment with "professional programming" (i use this term in the looses sense, please see my previous blog post.)
- don't just say it, but embrace it!
- one the shortcomings seemed to stem from the fact that no one was employed 100% to understand the intricacies of new media, community, and exploration. everyone seemed to say, "well, that sounds like a bit of this and that..." yeah, in reality it is a bit of this and that...
in the end what we discussed is nothing new. if you look at talk radio, if you look at community programming, if you look at community centers, or anything that loops community, conversation, and construction - you will find time tested models of engagement. there is nothing wrong with frailty, this is what has placed WOSU/COSI into this position. there is nothing wrong with failure. we must read, write and created or in this case listen, communicate and create. the only way traditional broadcast will survive is to find a symbiosis between a relevant/profitable business model and community - if your listeners are talking, are you listing?
hats off to WOSU and COSI, the facilitators, and community members. you took the leap of faith.... now it's a collective job to find the tussling logs will sustain the weight and carry everyone.
click on the better looking bloke for more pictures of my time in cali
after waiting 30 mins for something that would never happen to me, a woman and child sit down to join a male companion. somewhere in the halls luck, these two blonds have been blessed by unforeseen travel god. alone to my right, i see an old man with worn out blue jeans, with his shoes off and hat pulled over his eyes - i see the physical reflection of my tired sole.
as the skybus, banks north over the valley, i watch the western american desert skirt bye. off in the distance, i see andrews air force base, home to america's first astronauts. behind me, the couple and infant banter about nothing important - yet, everything his said in such serious tones. while there is an artifical serious natiture to the conversation - the two are idiots. from the rationalization for taking two separate cars to the airport, to the mother's ordeal in finding a parking spot, to his instance on telling her where she went wrong, to the baby crying, to the mother talking about how she's so sorry for delaying the flight 30 mins... i hear nothing but a relaxed worry free life style.
to embark on this journey is intersting. in San Fran, chris messina and tara hunt demanded a "refund" and gave me flack for many things.
first, she questions the value of this trip and the outcome of the project.
second, i criticized for not being honest for advertising myself is the #1 beneficiary of this project.
third, she questioned why i'm "the chosen one" and not someone else who is "better connected."
fourth, they inquired about my finances and wondered why i didn't seek out corporate underwriting.
finally, if the first few questions wasn't enough, they questioned the my integrity.
in the end, when i questioned how much of my content they had reviewed... they said "very little."
after all was said and i felt the ticking time bomb of two hours wasted, it was obvious Tara did not feel comfortable in my company. in return, i did not feel comfortable in their company. while i've always questioned their motives, my conversations with many other fansicsicans put a big olde spotlight on two humans whom are very much stuck in a bubble that will eventually burst.
we mutually agreed to a continuing conversation, but for now they would not support, endorse, nor would Tara participate in an interview. granted, chris said he would be available the morning of my departure, it was obviously an inconvenient time for two conflicting parties.
as i have always stated, this trip is about exploration. there are many ideas that must be explored. there are many ideas that must be tested and retested. there is no science to humanity. we are ever evolving creatures of awesome intellect. if we stop thinking, we stop exploring and therefore we stop expanding.
this journey is about exploration - physically and philospholicy. while i've changed the world has not.
as i grow, i see a light that very few understand. don't get me wrong, we can all think globally, and i don't mean this in a houtey-toitey... to me the world has a defined constitution; now i find my works taking on a new meaning. for example, when i landed in LA, my host, gregory whitescarver, and his pal callen immediately whisked me off to a party where i was introduced to LA's brightest.
after curtailing the use of lighter fluid on wet wood, some dark haired, light eyed, red coated ginger sat down next to me. she thanked me for kicking up the fire and started asking the usual assortment of questions - "who are you, what do you do, etc.." two seconds later her bloke arrived. sitting next to her, he proceeded to ask the same obnoxious question...
she interrupts, "he's been around the world!"
"oh, i too've been around the world... i've been to mexico, jamacia, (insert a few of western europe countries and one or two eastern europen countries)... ok, it's really not 'around the world' but i know what the world is like... well, not really africa nor asia, but i know the world." retorts the bloke.
shocked by her bf's blatant display of idiocy - with out a word, she stands up, turns around, picks up his left hand, and yanks him off the couch. with a slight handwave, they descend into the depths of the dance floor.
yeah, so where was i? oh yeah, exploration. so there's nothing wrong with how one explores the world, but for me the meaning of 'going around the world' is an interesting one. it was funny to hear chris and tara exclaim their new media exploration while other's have no other recourse than to explore or die. out of the countless conversations i had in LA, meeting Zadi and Steve from Jetset was amazing!
their support for my trip has been bewildering, from nowhere i was friend'd on every social network imaginable. then after my departure arrived the message, "oh, btw we want to do a segment on you." honored, excited, tired, out of money and stuck inside due to a gnarly sewage stankin thunderstorm - i found my self recording a message from delhi with no electricity and no internet, . almost a month later, out popped one of the most beautiful segment's i'd ever seen... check it out!
fast forward two and a half months later and several thousand km, i found myself sitting in a beverly hills coffee/tea house sipping on some raspberries and honey.
my head was down when they walked through the door, but my body knew they were here. i jumped up just as zadi started to lift her arms. standing on my tippy-toes, i hugged steve and promptly lost my balance. over ornate tea, a bowl of soup, and dainty coffee, we battered a the conversation back and forth.
well they asked questions, and i answered them...
as we moved from tea house to their dining room table, a conversation seemed to endless... maybe it was my long winded prose or short winded epics. a warm fuzzy feeling draped my body.
for the second half of the conversation, i asked them a slew of questions. while most of it was captured on tape, i found myself in total awe of this loving new media power duo. every other story was an epic in exploration. inquisitive and impatient they took imaginative ideas and instigated solutions.
it was great to hear how they met as teenagers in NYC and moved to explore ideas through the bubbles of innovation. in 2004, they finally settled on an idea for an internet children's show. after producing a few episodes, they discovered the show didn't quite represent what they were looking to capture. through exploration they evolved from "the jetset show" to "jetset" to "epic-fu" - through each iteration came personal and professional growth.
three years after venturing into the unknown, the two are still working countless hours revolutionizing how we watch video... to steve and zadi, the power to be nimble and experiment is one code of our online ecosystem.
tuesday morning, i was kicked awake by my buddy, gregory. tuesday was my opportunity to experience LA finest natual attraction, rush hour.
from silver lake to santa monica, i had no clue when i'd arrive at my destination. if i ran into the ocean, i'd gone to far. my friends told me an hour drive and i calculated a wee bit more than that. with tyrone, my macbook, feeding me directions, i promptly found my self smack dab in the middle of the world's worst nightmare. surround by angry-half-awake drivers, i navigated gregory's ford focus through the eastern canyons of hollywood.
when i finally in venice, a hardy cup of java was placed into my hands. with a bit of cream and a spoonful of shggar, julian bleecker and i entered into a long early morning conversation.
wrapped in the pleasantries of a cross-contental individuals, julian and i chatted about new york and i started talking about the nature of code... i backhandishly said, "if you know how to code, you you can partisipate."
julian asked, "what is code?"
in the tangible nature of things, code is something we humans do in our normal day to day... in the past, it was called protocol. hell, i still know people who attended "finishing" school. in the military, there is a strict code of conduct. in science, in international affairs, in programming, in modern social edicate... there's a million and one protocols to follow...
when it comes down to code in our modern peer-to-peer society... "what is code?" (maybe i've lost my cuthness, but there was a time when i aspired to have the finest of all things. then again, i was a starving college freshman. back then, i was a pretentious little punk.)
after a bit of discussion, we concluded (not that it was our only topic of discussion) that code in it's many forms is what rules all elements of society. code it self is slowly maturing and evolving. too boot, the barrier to entry is increasing decreasing (can someone say, "get up to get down?!?!")
in our second major topic, we talking about well roundedness. what makes up an "undisciplined" or "multi-disciplined" individual. is it about learning a bunch of trades in secondary and post-secondary school? is it about learning about society, interactivity and opportunity?
julian has three rules - read, write, build - with those three things i can't argue against!
all across this great planet, i have seen people who participate in open sourced programs - from a hug to the desktop - the world is predicated on helping the person on the other end of the line... amazingly, the line that encircles the globe is built on kindness.
on the drive back to gregory's place, i found old footsteps in santa monica. driving up and down the pacific cost highway, my mind wondered off the horizon to my friends in asia. i not only wondered what they were doing but i wondered how their feedback loop operates. i wondered if our "online code" was enough. lord knows, that my friends (or so called friends) whom i've met through assorted conferences make up a bulk of the people whom i trust. in turn, i hope these people have taken an ear to what i've said and digested it back into their lives... i wondered if i some how needed to create a roving band of merrymakers to tear down the insular nature of america... then it hit me... well something hit, i think it might have been a seagull pissed i was in his parking spot, but something hard did hit my head... i realized that on this rock. that's exactly what i'm doing...
painfully, i ended up thinking of those folks who's hands i have shuck but have fallen limp. i know 95% of the hands i've shook'n have fallen limp. i know this because, i too have fallen limp to thousands of people whom i've met. it's genuinely pains me that i can't get to know everyone on this planet.
amazingly, i was able to sit down with one of those hands that didn't fall limp. while politics is one of my loves, tony katz and i are able to sit down, share a plate of chips and see a world where the little guy plays a bigger role than the man behind the curtain. both of us agreed, that that the world operates on the back of the little guy. it's time that the rest of us understand that it's up to us to make the world different.
from this journey, i've wondered quite a bit of who we are and what we are doing. my time in LA has been intriguing... i found my self driving around podering the premisis that we frequently journey into the unknown. yet at the same time we see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe.
the meme of codes will developed in the forth coming multi-plant-um audio novel narrated by william shatner. contribute $11.11 and reserve you space in line ;)
(photos from la are slowing being added, in the meantime keep refreshing the geek!)
last night, i landed back in o-h-i-o and promptly found myself locked in a heated discussion on the network centric journalism... but more of that later... in the meantime, i want to inform ya on a few things...
- call me at +1.646.867.2263 - i have a new number. it's one of those "grand central" numbers... which means you can call me anywhere in the world, and this number will forward to my regoinal device. i think it's bitchin! if you want an invite to the beta, just contact me.
- witness is hiring for several positions - online outreach coordinator - hub editorial coordinator - technology coordinator - you should also check out their HUB project. it's fairly bad ass!
- greenpeace is hiring an internet organizer. my good buddy beka, "the" internet organizer for greenpeace USA and from the change you want to see, is seeking digital companionship.
(this is a recreation a photo my father took of my mother in the same yard. click on your fav part and be transported to a magical day filled with globetrotting, house hunting & a birthday celebration.)
it's one hundred percent certifiable, my body has traveled around the world. on 24 may 1978, i was born at loma linda university hospital. on 12 november 2007, i drove around the hospital to seal the deal and officially proclaim my body around the world.
as a descendent of new world explorers, i am now the first modern hidalgo (of moca linage) to circumnavigate the globe. do i feel different?
yes and no. it's kinda like turning a monumental age. you've always dreamt of reaching the milestone, but wondered if you'd make it. nonetheless, you persevered over every oppositional thought and roadblock. i could wax on about how i feel like a billion sea shells or how there's a new spring in my step...
i know tomorrow will be another day - unscripted, unedited and unfiltered. many things can and will go wrong.
i know hundreds of people have placed me on their shoulders and carried my dream across the globe.
i know that i must work twice as hard to show my appreciation for the beauty of all things.
i now know nothing will stopping me from working the world's lemons into lemonade.
i know i am not alone.
(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.
(this is a total departure from most of my ramblings... i'm exhausted, but i want to get my "fresh" thoughts on "paper." all y'all should note i listen to the motorcycle dairies like a rechargeable battery pulls it's juice from the wall. track to track, i find an energy like none other... am i alone in this???)
from vancouver to Seattle, i sat with a cast of characters. boarding a amtrak chartered bus, i found myself surrounded by stereo typical travelers - the sports junky worried about customs, the hot college coed, the two friends setting out on a long journey, a preppy couple who had a copy of the ny times, a few hipsters, grandmas, etc...
as rain pounded the roof, we all waded through customs, reboarded the "secure" bus and shlepped to seattle. as we drove through the foggy morning in "upper northwest" (really it's all subjective, in vancouver they call it the lower mainland), the sun caressed the horizon which illuminated mountains to the left and large bodies of water to the right. somewhere through my drowsiness, i too caressed the mountainess coach chair to my left and to my right, i poured out a widow into a never ending water world.
once in SEA, i found myself in the same tiny train station from which i departed. with my eyes barely working, i found the seat assignment keyosk and requested an ocean view. as an FU to my mental state, the vending machine decided to stiff me on my morning ritual of M & Ms. after a solid five mins of cursing, banging and a 110% vagrant disposition, i convinced the machine of my worthiness and was granted my treat.
as i stood to board the coast starlight, i danced (ie wobbled back and forth trying to keep balance) as i looked around at my fellow passengers.
i wondered whom i would meet. i wondered whom i would befriend. i wondered about their destinations, stories, but more importantly, i wondered which cute girl would fancy this bearded flip-floping hobbit.
would it be the hipster from vancouver or the mid-20's vixen wearing an unusually light sun dress for a cold day?
would it be one of the three young college coeds or the layered granola crunching intellectual?
would it be the grandmother who's traveled around the world or would it be married woman traveling without her husband?
after scoring a seat with a rare electrical outlet, i crossed my finger on whom my join my bench. as my luck would turn, i got the acid washed early 40s stoner who interjected "dude" instead of "ahum" or "ahh." behind me and to the left, sat a woman who's disposition suited an afternoon cocktail party, not an early morning long distance train. directly behind me and next to the boisterous three cups of coffee, sat a cute fashionable question.
tipped with firey red hair, this late 20 year old sported flat-black calf high boots, a teal dress of notable distinction and black leggings. the dress looked really familiar. the style was something i had seen a few times before. either in nyc or sf or some other hipster sub-capital. i knew the cut, the frills and somehow i knew the personality would be interesting.
as the train departed, i fell back into my previous state of traveler's coma. an hour or so later, i woke up and ran to my lunch reservation in the a dining car. (btw, what a rip off!)
upon my return, i was blessed with the two women blabbing away and my bench mate passed out sporting a nice collection of drool. tired and alone, i settled into eavesdropping mode. as an observer, i've found myself enjoying the conversations of others... when you've already developed a distain for someone's attitude, it can be a real treat!
behind and to the left, the older woman clad in "funky" jewelry provided enough comments to paint a picture of a strong independent upper-middle class woman from the united states. sounding like a blend of a million and one other conversations, i dreamt she lived in a comfortable house, struggled with her life's investments and more importantly, she was more concerned how others perceived her and her husband. (all of which was confirmed as the conversation wore on...)
sitting to her right sat the fiery red head who was verbally amazed by every burning autumn leaf. from topic to topic, i heard an open, inquisitive and fiery disposition. too boot, i heard the voice of a self made woman. when she said the words "school of hard knocks" my heart skipped a beat. i wondered who was this woman. more importantly, i wondered how to interject an introduction.
by the stroke of luck, the conductor announced we would be stopping in portland for a "fresh air break." within a matter of mins... oh wait, snap! so, there was a glance. when the two got up to get lunch, i sat typing away. next to me sat mr. spicoli (as "fire" would eventually come to describe him). somehow, someway, we made brief eye contact, but too brief to be substantial. ok, if "fire" would have dropped a hanky, then it would have been substantial... so off they went... glare, look, glance noted...
then, when the conductor called out the fresh air brake, i hopped up and to my delight so did "fire." amazingly, mr. spicoli stood in front of both of us. as a die hard smoker, he was ready to pound a few sticks in the 5 / 10 mins we had outside. as we worked our way down the stairs, "fire" commented on the characters and i was taken back... was she talking to me? was she being coy or snotty? was she calling me a character?
regardless, i knew this was my one opportunity. if i screwed this up... i would be screwed up. so i shot back the classical "oh, i think we're all characters."
low and behold, that one little line set off a chain of events that would force me to turn around and hanging over the back of my seat for the next few hours. when we re-boarded the train, "fire" pulled out her old ibook and i was like... "whoa, can i steal some of that?"
in ease, i built an itunes playlist of rock n'roll, jazz, soul, 60's and cover songs... ahem, i am that high fidelity guy. i have that disposition where i judge people by their musical tastes. i know it's such a bad thing... and if you're female and i make you a mix tape. watch out! ;)
maybe it was her light blue eyes or her constant application of a fiery red lip gloss... but every movement seemed to be in slow-mo. i was completely transfixed from topic to topic - indian pizza, dysfunctional family, fashion, music, technology, social networks, self made adventures, etc... every comma, apostrophe, period and question mark had my total awe. if this wasn't enough, she was to be in vangroovy from monday to thursday, but had to cancel to attend her grandmother's funeral... instead "fire" routed to her way to seattle. can some one say "star crossed?
it was weird to think of destiny and the world that exists beyond/after this project. it was weird to have chet baker's "my ideal" stuck in my head after so many months of celibacy. maybe this is a T.M.I., but when i started this journey i dreamt about being a casanova and meeting the love of my life. i still dream that i will find the love of my life... but i now fear that the love of my life is something that's beyond any one particular person. AND that really freaks me out...
well, i now have a crush and an address in SF which will soon start to receive post-cards. :)
i know this is blog post is coming out a bit out of order, but seeing how i have yet to even tackle a summary of san fran, i'd figured i'd toss this up since gregory heller (old pal, recent facebook convert) posted a my most cosmical outfit to date. on background, i'll tell you that my jacket was tucked into the rear of my pants so it wouldn't get stuck in the spokes. (btw, it took me about a min to figure out why i was being pulled of the bike... one of these day's i'll learn to ride a bike.)
also in the video, please note the positioning of the break is not the best, when applying pressure, my forward momentum took over and i fell off the bike twice. ok, it was more than that, but i'm not going to tell you how many times...
like a ripe pear, i got to seattle just in the nick of time - from office nomads to lawrence lessig to saturday house to hackerbot labs to gosleepgo... everything was in sync on a loaned bike with an awkwardly sized seat, too long of a center support and a gut to large to bend over... SEA was a refreshing few days of contemplation.
there's a funny trend among people who are on the road. after a while, you get these funny ideas and after longer you realize that if your heart is in the right place, you really can't go wrong.... then after a longer gestation, you realize that you can do some really wacky and crazy things... best catalystizisms, forced resourcefulness, travel time and the shear realization that the world is too small to be taken 100% serious. oh sure there are serious issues at hand and we got a long road to change many things... but if you can't laugh at the situation at hand, might as well work in a cubical.
btw, i too made a video. it's a ghost hunting video. somewhere between saturday house and hackerbot labs, heller, Shawn McDougal and i stubbled upon SEVEN dining cars stacked up into one bad ass mofo of a diner.
shoveling meat is what andy's dinner does best! AND seeing how i'm in the northern part of america, people are nicer... after ordering a slab o meet, i asked our nice waitress about the history. the pride of andy's is a train car FDR used on one of his whistle stop tours. so after a bewildering number of questions and mazeonic adventure to find the bathroom, i started asking an increasing number of questions. one thing, let to another and we were told about a ghost.
somewhere in the nooks and crannies of this tired old dinner sat one tired old ghost, who after a bunch of prodding, howling and a idle threats - the ghost never appeared.
luck of seven goes ghost hunting in SEA from noneck on Vimeo.
thanks all y'all...