a rain of thoughts and ideas...

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yesterday it was pouring rain. though this rain was not your ordinary rain - filled with cats and dogs, the rain contained an unusual assortment of information...

at my usual watering hole, an unusual individual passed along a droplet of information that has soaked my soul. it's almost like a dream come true. imagine hitching a ride from london to mongolia in a car whose engine contain half the power of my camelpak... so what's a liter of power in english measurements? think of a fiat, citron or an old mini... in other words, a compact. a EUROPEAN compact. some call them micro cars. others, daily transportation. for a small group, at max 180 people, it will be home and a haven for an international rally that spans from the uk to mongolia. insanity right!?! hells yeah.

organized by the league of adventurists international LTD, 60 cars will leave on july 21st from london. these rebells from around the globe have three weeks to make their way across five "routes" and then end up in mongolia. nothing gets my heart beating like a good car race. nothing gets my heart beating faster than a bunch of lunatics attempting feats of nobility and self determination. nothing will make my heart beat faster than one of the teams contacting me asking for a third driver!

which then got me thinking about a "me" vs "we" factor. right now, public response indicates people think this trip is a cool "vacation" vs "adventure." without having an explicit charitable organization or partnership, it's been hard to convince my reluctant compatriots that this is not a "vacation." heck i had one friend outright question my manifesto's authenticity. not that i have one... nonetheless, i am searching for the right opportunity, partnership, marriage, etc... non-profits, media agents, and others... nothing is too crazy, as long as you don't compromise my integrity and my content.

then somehow the question of integrity carried me down a stream of consciousness back to february... in a mildly cold geneva surrounded by snow barren alps, i questioned what is digital integrity? but it's more than integrity, my real question lies in the existence of what is a digital soul. back at LIFT, sister Judith Zoebelein, holy see, spoke about the internet as a conduit for modern theistical practice. i think that our online existence is an extension of our physical existence. in this place we can explore freudian thoughts, interact and fill the void that a modern organic existence creates, and really understand that our identity wether organic or synthetic is an embodiment of our organic nature. (whew..)

personally, i've always tried to keep my self on the same plain of existence - synthetic or organic... i am the sum of all my parts, but because of my mental space has been growing further than my ability to type and express my thoughts, i'm finding my self in a fractured digital existence.

inherently our online existence is divergent though the plains of participation - flickr, myspace, del.icio.us, twitter, last.fm, etc... they force us to segment our flow. this segmentation provides us the ability to manifest many different personalities. historically, i've attempted to keep a unified existence. online or offline, my worlds collide through a curated view of self. while i am the one who builds the profile, my friends, number of friends and my quality of self is there for perceived through these mediums.

with an infinite number of mediums, these inadvertently give us digital fragmentation. painfully, i now find my self in an altered existence with friends that are unrecognizable, relationships of no value and an overwhelming amount of data. sure, some may boil it down and say that it's a form of internet ADD. when it comes to my own understanding of things... i feel a bit scattered, and concerned with having a life that is inflated.

i'm sure you've all heard the statement, "he looks good on paper..." well for years i've frequented bars and had a persona for my bar existence, then i had my office life, another for scooter subculture, another for political events, etc... and what i find painful is that this is the type of existence i've had since high school... and while i always felt light and nimble, it also felt somewhat superficial. my friends where never given the proper justice, time or love. as for love, let's just say that though it all, i've had my ups and downs... in the end, i can look at a diversity of existence and experience. in the end, i am happy but now on an never ending quest for more.

ironically, the online model i follow is no more different than my physical existence. changing one social networking bio, leaves others disconnected from the current "reality" and presents an alternate universe. in the end, preferences left on one site will attract a different group of followers than what is featured on other sites.

it really does freak me out that i'm bothered by these disparaging profiles of existence. i know they are who i am, or whom i once was, but are they really who i am now? there are many ways to look at these online identities... some see them as time capsules. others, facets of expression, and yes, i know that i'm lumping in many thoughts here... but when i think of my online existence and maybe this is more of a traditional perspective, i want to see an honest reflection of how i view my life, but in reality images are built on how others see your actions...

imagine a figure skater who is just starting to spin. as the figure skater obtains balance, their arms are extended out. as the speed increase, arms withdraw and body mass is concentrated... speed increase and beauty is displayed.... not that i'm a fan of figure skating, but currently that's my perception of digital participation.

fundamentally i am conflicted. instead of being spread across a multitude of plaines, should i scale back? should i seriously consider revoking social networking profiles, firing all friends, and placing a tombstone as an image?

some people call this digital suicide... especially in light of this journey, but there is another argument that resonates... if we give away our own "labor" what protection do we have? on friday, trebor schultz made this his central argument... he waxed on that "we are labors in the digital factories of participatory culture."

this armchair philosopher is not intending this treatise to be a political argument. that conversation will come later, but as i wade though this river of thoughts i find THE real argument... i am asking for your fellowship. i am asking unknown people from around the globe to be my eyes, my ears, my hands, my beds and my wallets. i'm asking you to join me, rebuke the thoughts and notions of mental tyranny. let's go fishing beyond the borders of existence and see the connectivity of all things.


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on the luck of seven was an open-source, around the world project by noel hidalgo, a new york city based activist, organizer, barcamper and coworker.

for seven months, he traversed the globe. using a new media voodo (blog, vlog, wiki, flickr, couchsurfing, twitter, myspace, dopplr, and facebook), noneck harnessed the collective knowledge of the internet, and report on seven topics of freedom. this trip was funded by 253 people and supported, house, fed, and loved by countless others.

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