i'm sorry that i haven't posted more photos. my internet connection has been limited to email and txt. despite my sorrow for only spending a brief time in delhi and a shorter time with the wonderful people, i am off to interview drishti.
Drishti is a leading human rights and development organization that uses media, communications and the arts to strengthen India's social movements and organizations, in order to extend their reach and to increase the participation of marginalized communities.
thank you Delhi for the past few days! i'm excited to see what happens with the delhi blogger project.
thank you ashish for your couch.
thank you new contributors - Jeffrey Taylor, Troy Rutter, Whitney Hoffman, Chris Breshears, Michael Cerda, Emily Reed, Steve Woolf, Melissa Clarke, katharine michelle perras, Mark Kuznicki, Ryan Coleman, Rohan Jayasekera!!!
auto-rickshaw photo by flickr user pinreader
first, let me put this post into context... my friends here in delhi (ok, it's really the National Capital Region) have welcomed me with open arms, fed me, housed me and have acted as translators and security. they have refused to accept any payment but gifts of gratuitous thanks. in my hour of depleted funds, they are finding new ways to entertain my soul through pleasant company, extend every rupee and provide countless indian history lessons.
i'm building so much dharma debt i will never forget.
thank you, Prashant, Daksh, Amit, Neha, Ashish, Abby, Naveena, Yogesh, Priyanka, Kinshuk, Kanika, Sunil...
PS - the photo is from priyanka, aka twilight fairy on flickr. you should check out her work!
speaking of rupees, remember my last post?
last night's twitter banter has netted $359.43 USD! i now have enough cash to purchase a plane ticket from mumbai to bangalore to bangkok. thank you to those who contributed! i now need $2800 USD to reach $7,777 USD. i'll tell you more about my fundraising exploits below.
btw, i think my stomach has finally succumbed to a certain level of lactose intolerance. i now find my self howling as my stomach curdles in agony demanding a refund on a meal long ago purchased. some might call it "delhi belly" but i'm fairly sure it's "dairy belly."
as for avoiding dairy in dehli, it is as futile as avoiding flies, mosquitos, over zealous drivers with their horns and the stench of raw sewage...
ok, dehi isn't that bad... so let's get to brass tax (or is it brass tacks). the past few days have been crazy. since monday, i've been in perpetual motion running all over the national capital region. (NCR is like the washington dc area, except you'll find 22 some odd million. there is also a major problem with suburban sprawl and rapid development.)
from nodia to gurgaou to new delhi to south delhi, i've seen the inside of a countless radio cabs (aka with free A/C), hailed cabs (A/C is extra), rickshaws (pedal bike where air is free and so is the BO), autorickshaws (scooter based contraptions running on CNG), a few private cars that operated as taxi cabs, and a few privately own cars.... sadly, no motorcycles nor scooters...
spending the past few nights in the out flung burros, i've been able to compare the wealth of central delhi to the poverty and squaller that is interwoven on every street, creek and alley. one can not help but see rickshaws advertising .coms sitting next to naked children.
through out all of my conversations, i seek to understand one question - "how do indians see their future..."
my friends, students whom i met, hosts, and interview subjects see two worlds - one is a digital world filled with interloping ideas of a modern digital oasis. the second contains the rest of india - 70% of the population and must not be left behind nor taken for-granted.
sunday, after two night's with Prashant Singh, i moved my stuff to daksh sharma's grandmother's house. ambiguous in schedule and sleeping locations, daksh said that his uncle would take care of me. fearful of a schedule that would conflict with mine, i patiently waited to see what was in store.
in an ironic twist of humor, i thought my third night would take me closer to central delhi. instead i found my self further away. despite the fact that daksh lives in Delhi, he and his family graciously put me into a guest house. once my distance was located on a tattered hotel map, i knew my stay would be short.
as the room cooled with a jerryrigged A/C unit in the window and two vigorous rotors attached to the ceiling, i fought to keep a million mosquitos at bay. after a million and one calls sorting out a schedule, i stood underneath a spicket spewing luke warm water and washed the one of my three sets of clothing. by the time i was done, the brownish water was black. my green nylon columbia sportswear fishing pants victoriously lasted one month without a single inkling of soap - from the streets of jerusalem, to the beach in tel aviv, the 13 hour bus ride to egypt, all the grime in cairo, and the long journey to india - these pants have armored my legs through the tick and tin.
after a dasterious night of limited REM operations, i awoke monday morning to the bell hop ring my phone 15 mins before i had scheduled my alarm. tired, confused and wondering where in the hell i left my lens cap, i stuffed my bags and turned off the air circulating apparatus installed in room 105.
upon checkout, i was greeted with a bill for 1350 rupees. dismayed on the thought i was getting scammed i franticly called daksh's uncle who's phone was turned off. after paying, sheephisly (i actually said "this is baaaaad") i climbed into a small TATA and speed off south to meet Ashish.
on monday, there were two important things i needed to do...
1. find away to purchase a super discounted ticket from sydney to hawaii.
2. prepare for a presentation at one of india's prestigious colleges' - Shri Ram College of Commerce.
with a weekend of dispatches sent to my parents. i called up my father and chatted about the trip, my ideas and my delema. after a brief discussion on solutions, he was willing to purchase my airfare from sydney to hawaii (so i can at least make it back to the USA, albeit it's the furthest state in the union) and loan me some money incase i found myself up shit creek.
comically, my old man sat in puerto rico at his parents house on a dial up connection cursing the heat, humidity and slow internet. it got even more entertaining when he forgot his paypal username and we spent two hours in an attempt to hammer a solution.
around 14h00, i found myself researching the exact cost of the next four months but found myself interrupted by a cab waiting for me outside.
let's rewind a bit, on the last day of OSS camp i sat in the small break out room with it's own separate A/C. as i wielded my magic wand looking for airfares, contacts and avenues of income, a clean cut young man walked up to me and introduced himself as kinshuk sunil. polightly he apologized for not attending my "session" on saturday, but wanted to invite me to chat with his class of MBA students. without any hesitation, i said "yes."
since shri ram is actually on the other side of delhi (ie on the north side, close to the jet engine hotel) i had to leave two hours before my little blub. despite our treck (radio cab) through dirt roads and dense traffic, my arrival was early.
with kinshuk sunil greeting me at the main gate, we walked, talked, and since the school wasn't picking up the taxi fare, he bought me a small meal. as kinshuk described my awaiting audience, i thought about what i would say... to be honest, kinshuk wanted me to talk about my observations on my seven topics of selection, but instead i knew i would end up rehashing the basis of this trip, the personal story of why i started this journey and the exploration of the space within the world.
some how i found my thoughts circling this statement "my theoretical thesis that predicated this trip is no different than its' reality."
i know it sounds a bit queer to hear but i'm going to quote the rockman (this rockman fairies from harry nilsson's the point if you don't know the story, check it)... in the album, oblio is a boy who has no point and his dog arrow is his sole companion. they both live in the land of the point where everyone has a point. according to the laws of the land, everyone in the point must have a point. after a harmless tussle with the count's son, finds himself banished to the pointless forest.
on their journey they meet a lovely cast of characters, and one of them is the pot smoking, rasta named the rockman. graciously the rockman has to set oblio straight on the term "pointless" and asks oblio, "have you ever been to paris? have you ever been to new delhi?" (now i can say i have)
oblio responds "No!"
rockman replies, "you hear what you want to hear and see what you want to see..."
...and with that oblio learns that the "pointless forest" is not pointless but filled with a billion and one points...
with that little quote echoing though my brain like the car horns on the street's of cairo, i took to the stage and spoke for an two hours. i told them about the sevens, how this trip started, i told them about hearbreak, frustration, and why i see the world in this special way.
i told them as future leaders of the world's largest democracy, they have the power to change any problem they see infront of them. tomorrow's world is at their fingertips.
as the hour moved forth and my story ended, they started to ask questions like, why focus on digital communications? why the number seven? why aren't more people traveling? why do people become "enlightened?" what do you have in your backpack?
then came my turn, i asked them about their fears, future job prospects, and more importantly how they see india.
their answers amazed me... to this group of young leaders, india is an merging superpower, but not filled with arrogance and pomp. since so much of the country resides in poverty, it is their obligation to insure that poverty in india is squelched and tradition is respected...
after a confusing exit/lockin... a small group of us made our way to the brandspankingnew delhi metro (aka subway), went through metal detectors and hopped on modern wonderment. while i was on my way, i got a txt from Abhishek Baxi (aka abby) to meet up in south delhi at a ruby tuesdays.
(food joints here in india are a bit of a bit of bewilderment. they look like your americans joints but with one striking difference... the service! the food is the same mediocre quality, english menus, uniforms etc... BUT the quality of service is astronomical. if your napkin falls, they've got it. if you need a light, they've got it. if you're about to finish your beer, drink, or water.... THEY'VE got it!)
as i sat waiting for abby to show up, i wondered how india would emerge as a superpower...
the next 24 hours would enlighten my perspective... spurred by the global network of ideas, abby found Jelly (the coworking thing i featured in episode 3) and is now looking to set up his own... after carrying on the conversation into the early hours of the morning, abby, naveena (his girlfriend) and i headed back to their apartment and i crashed on their floor.
waking later than i wanted... (ahem, thanks for all the beers!!!) i departed for my first formal interview of the trip. arranged by Dask, i found myself in an awesome conversation with Sunil Malhotra, founder president & CEO of ideafarms. we conversed about the meaning of employment, consultancy and the term "heart capital." impressively, his thoughts are no different that what many within the barcamp/coworking/freelance community have espoused.
for a while we talked about living out ideals instead of evangelizing them... (to be honest, this is something i hate, but has to be done... honestly i see my self as a modest person. i've never wanted press or notoriety, but now i'm on this oxymoronic trip and need press for money, exposure for contacts and notoriety for leverage.... ok, i really don't want notarity, i just want you to know about how the world is changing...) then, we spoke about our friends who seem notable and how our confluence of ideas can change the world...
after a very cheesy lunch (ie dairy), i headed out to meet kanika anand, a fellow couchsurfer and dreamer. we bantered, exchanged gifts whilst sipping frapps (ie more dairy). after our delightful conversation, departed south to meet up with my host, ashish and other delhi bloggers who are considering setting up an alt.art.foodie.delhi blog....
here's sort a video from the evening...
a very special thank you is sent to following who have answered the call and contributed a few bones....
Erica O'Grady, Justin Stockton, Eric Skiff, Heath Row, Lawrence Halff, Abhay Kumar, jonathan berger, nick bollweg, Jeff Ledoux, Richard Weait, Jeffrey Sass, Samuel Gluskin, Oliver Hoerold, Alexandra Deschamps, Ellen Moore, Joe Cronin, Gavin Heaton
after yesterday's adventure in the wastelands of future hubbub, i arrived in mumbai. under the cover of darkness, i quietly roamed the halls of the international terminal.
greeted by a plainclothes custom's agent and without any questions, my passport was stamped and i walked into india. within 10 mins my bags were on a stroller and i was strolling into the humid night.
while my original plans were to spend the night in the terminal, things changed very quickly. on the day of my departure from cairo, former CiviCRM stunt man and current Drupaller, Yashesh Bhatia emailed me emphatically saying i should visit mumbai. upon telling him that i was just passing through, he told me that he would be at the airport dropping off his father and that he would be waiting for me.
in the hot sticky air, my bags and i stumbled out into the public waiting area squinting for a glimpse of a face i have only seen via email. tired, alone and without a working SIM, i quickly worked my way to get change and make a phone call.
after a bit of belligerence from a guy selling water, a young man wearing a hotel uniform pulled out his cell phone and offered to call yashesh. within a matter of minutes, chaos turned into peace. all of sudden, yashesh's friend/coworker (who's name escapes me at this moment) turned out of the crowed and ushered me to meet yashesh, his wife and three year old son.
driving though the crowed streets of mumbai, we talked about our geek history, the last 24 hours of travel, my time with the guys and gals of opencraft and my sadness leaving them. upon arrival at the Bhatia's family home, i was greeted by handshakes, a seat, a plate and a home cooked meal from heaven.
at 4.45 in the morning, yashesh and i drove to the airport. after a mad dash through the airport, i found myself watching the sunrise above the clouds.
with a bit of tung and cheek, joe strummer sung the following immortal words...
"Number 1, You have the right not to be killed...
... Number 2, You have the right to food money...
... Number 3, You have the right to free speech as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."
as last night's waning hours worked their fury into a insatiable quest for entertainment, i found my self immersed in "seize the time" and thinking about my conversations with mardini, alaa, amr and nora.
back in nyc, i would have read their stories on global voices and thought of their story to be a novel use of social technology. after visiting them, hearing them, watching them with friends and conversing with a room full of geeks, i no longer viewed them as just a story. i no longer saw novelty, but the reality we are locked in a long struggle.
this struggle is not just about technology, but providing localized technology... without adequate translation, a computer, iphone, ipod, etc is no different than a hammer. (this will be addressed in a video interview... but hopefully you can understand that english internet superpower is not the "end all be all" of intellectual prowess... then again the hole-in-the-wall project would disagree with me.)
humanity has many faces. a majority of them are pleasant. (i am fortunate to see these faces across the globe - from the cairo subway to the streets of the bronx.) when it comes to the minority, this struggle works it way to be a battle over power. my visit to the pyramids reinfoced this fact.
through my eyes, i see this struggle to be a struggle over basic human rights. in the USA, we are "fortunate" to be "born" with "inalienable rights." incredibly, 40 years ago "the great experiment" failed in providing these rights to it's citizens. now at the dawn of the 21st century, through the use of digital technology, we have a unique opportunity to shape the way "inalienable rights" are passed along to the rest of the world.
without trying to be radical, a basic civics lesson will tell you "politics is war without bloodshed - and war is a continuation of politics, with bloodshed." huey p. newton & bobby seale built the black panther party to be THE vessel for the american black community to fight oppression, racism and murder and provide "Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace." despite the fact their organization was criminalized and persecuted, the black panther party died to bring justice for all poor americans. (btw, did you know they created the "free breakfast for children program" and popularized medical research in sickle-cell disease?)
forty years later, the world continues to face these same problems. most of the people whom i've interviewed all see the same thing.
the technology we have at our disposal is not just a simple vessel of entertainment. our modern technology is a complex beast that crashes through the gates of oppression and gives us an opportunity to make the world a better place.
sadly and on a too frequent basis, i see many of us blinded by the shiny side of the iphone, the hue of a garment or worse the insatiable consumption for "sustainable consumption." yet, one can not separate the quest of basic human rights as the pit of peach. all of these issues are wrapped up on the third planet from the sun.
by creating "a bill of rights for users of the social web" it's great to see that smarr, canter, scoble and arrington hopping on the same chariot many political technologist championed last year through the integration proclamation. while i support both, i see these intellectual statements as one thing, and can't stop thinking of bertolt brecht and kurt weill's song "what keeps mankind alive"
You gentlemen who think you have a mission
To purge us of the seven deadly sins
Should first sort out the basic food position
Then start your preaching, that’s where it begins
You lot who preach restraint and watch your waist as well
Should learn, for once, the way the world is run
However much you twist or whatever lies that you tell
Food is the first thing, morals follow on
So first make sure that those who are now starving
Get proper helpings when we all start carving
What keeps mankind alive?
What keeps mankind alive?
The fact that millions are daily tortured
Stifled, punished, silenced and oppressed
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed
And for once you must try not to shriek the facts
Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts
Technorati Tags: a bill of rights for users of the social web, activists, bertoit brecht, integration proclamation, joseph smarr, kurt weill, marc canter, michael arrington, open social web, robert scoble
(this is an email you will soon receive if you had subscribed to my email list... if you haven't, you need to do so ASAP...) click < http://groups.google.com/group/luckofseven >
hi, do you remember me?
i have wonderful news! today marks 60 days on the road...
AND with less than 30 days of cash left in my pocket, google has acquired me! YES, THAT'S RIGHT I AM PART OF THE GOOGLEZONE! after a long series of negotiations, prodding and more importantly, chasing google's tail... (ha, and you thought i was moving around to interview people... WRONG!). google decided that i'm worthy every penny to have an all expensed trip on them.
when i land in new delhi, i will be awash in google paraphalina (Hawaiian shirt, "high" performance underwear, fishing pants, camelpak and cheese cloth. the cheese cloth was a special request.) also, they have decided to out fit me with the most state of the art satalite/webcam system. i will soon be wired up like justin.tv streaking my naked ass from continent to continent reporting on open culture.
oh wait, was that another one of my fanciful dreams? the webcam, google clothing and cheese cloth are not true. almost being out of cash and hitting the two month mark are on spot.
in all honesty, i was sick and tired of having $30 USD enslaved from my bank account. so this message is the first message from the new luck of seven google group. you can invite friends and reply directly to me... this new and improved email list promises to be a digested version of noel's insanity, sanity, and twits...
speaking of twitts, if you are not on twitter, you are missing out on half of the story. while the blog, photos and interviews are a curated view of my life on the road... twitter is turing out to be the background on the background. sometimes you will get a dream, quote, hallucination, fear or blundering mistake... nonetheless, i have a very witty way twitter will be employed in my thunderous Dianetics styled essay, book, movie, and broadway musical.
if you aren't "following" me, then you're not following the whole story. < http://twitter.com/noneck >
finally, let's get into the meat and potatoes of my work...
i first have to thank so many here in cairo... mardini, nora younis, khalid & his family, omar, amr, alaa & mannal, all the kids at opencraft, meramees & EGLUG... oh and how can i forget happy birthday mohamed?!?
tomorrow (wed), i depart from cairo on a two hour train to alexandria. on the overnight flight to dubai, i'll sleep. on arrival (thurs), i'm going to work on editing video. thursday evening, i'll fly to mumbai and sleep in the airport. friday morning, like linus van pelt, i'll shlep to the proper terminal and fly to new delhi. somewhere around 8 am i'll finally land back in asia...
a lot of people have asked blankly what am i doing... normally, i give them a long winded answer how i'm trying to save the world with a straw hat, beard, camera and cell phone. though, in reality, i'm meeting the world's coolest people. i'm not talking about esquire, high society, nor woman's day... i'm talking honest to god/s, hard working people who don't take smoldering piles of poop from anyone.
despite the fact it's taking me longer to edit video than originally expected, and my ADD ravaged soul has problems being a one man band, i've cranked out 13 videos (6 while on the road, 1 every 10 days... not to shabby). once i land in india, get ready to shoot whiskey and watch one or two more episodes...
in the meantime, you should check out...
13 - dries, founder of the drupal project, on the history of drupal and it's community...
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode13 >
12 - christophe aguiton on future coworking software and barcamp/coworking community
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_12 >
11 - dirk slater and the tactical technology collective
< http://luckofseven.com/vlog/episode_11_brighton >
10 - two american freelancers in berlin looking at coworking
09 - the history of transitions online and their work in former soviet republics
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_9_tol >
08 - my running with the bulls
< http://luckofseven.com/episode_8_running_bulls >
07/07/07 - my goodbye speech (filmed by charles hope)
< http://luckofseven.com/good_bye_toast_blog_blip_tv >
until we meet in india!
join me on a trip around the world!
"If your heart acquires strength, you will be able to remove blemishes from others without thinking evil of them." - mohandas k. gandhi
on the eve of celebrating two months of jostling, i thought it would be nice to turn the spotlight to someone who has enlightened my existence.
robyn byrd is cycling around france raising awareness and money for darfur. her project cycling for darfur started on the first, and there couldn't be a better time to start. from today's nytimes, it appears that the vicious cycle is rolling on.
on her journey, robyn is fundraising for Global Grassroots, a non-profit which works with woman survivors of the darfur genocide who reside in Chad's refugee camps. for 600 kilometers she is asking people to sponsor 1 cent per kilometer (aka $6 USD for the ENTIRE TRIP!!!) through her blog she will detail conversations and people she finds.
if you get a chance, donate your lunch money to a good cause... believe it or not, just a few pennies will change the world!
robyn and i have an interesting connection, last year she contacted me vis-a-vis couchsurfing. out of the blue she crossed the hudson, the east river and into my life... for a few hours we chatted and as quickly as she entered, she disappeared...
that was until we randomly met again this year... on a crowded, rain soaked roof top in manhattan, we caught up, exchanged numbers and proceeded to spend a significant amount of time together.
shortly before my departure, through some simple twist of fate, she invited me to attend an evening with bobby seale, founder of the black panter party, former political prisoner, activist and chef. after listing to bobby cautiously wade through simple questions which could have been answered in one breath - "stop talkin' & get to work"... a featherific thought attached itself to my hat, and for the next week i attempted to read seize the time.
as the seconded ticked down to my departure, i found my self running around nyc staring at unsolvable social dilemmas and cultural creeks no bridge could cross. finding myself more flustered than resolved, i tossed the book in my sack.
just this morning i pulled out seize the time. sitting in cairo, i feel more resolved than flustered. let us all put our shoulder to the wheel and push along. i wish the best to my sister robyn.
quick question, does your ISP/hosting provider have a blog? while you might wonder why it's important, check out network redux's rationale for starting up a blog...
This weblog serves several purposes for our community; an inside perspective into the operations underlying common dicussions and issues on our NOC List, behind the scenes discussion on the fundamentals of managing a web hosting company, and most importantly an open door of communication to our user base.
Founded in November, 2004 — we have noted substantial improvements in our service levels as a result of multi-channeled communication with our customer base. This has taken fold via our Network Operations List, our Community driven forums, and our Wiki style FAQ.
...and here's my advice...
i'm really glad to see that you guys are starting a blog. i hope that you take the time not just to discuss the technical operation, but i also hope that you talk about the grander issues that face small businesses, the environmental impact of running a server farm, and the government regulation impacting small business/ISP/hosting companies.
i look forward to hearing more from you guys and look forward to hearing the brain dribble.
network redux should also set up a twitter account to send out updates about server status, notes to this blog, and events/things you guys like!
many thanks for being so awesome!
ps - network redux is contributing their services and host luckofseven.com
it's not really your traditional sense of "coworking" but once i mentioned the idea to omar, he passed it along to his boss and thought it would be a great idea... if you haven't heard about coworking, that's alright... most people haven't... it's a variable meme popularized by the independent and freelancer community... after attending a few of Amit and Luke's Jelly NYC sessions, i fell in love with the idea and with the help of beka from Not an Alternative, we crafted a little space...
the community actually defines "Coworking [as] a movement to create cafe-like community/collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents."
-= back to cairo =-
after breakfast at the cairo equivalent of denny's, omar and i set out in one of the cities illustrious cabs. winding thought the dusty petroleum clouds, i wondered what was next. when i walked though the doors of OpenCraft, i clearly knew i would no longer need to worry. after meeting abdel karim (aka Mardini), a majority of the business staff and a few members of the tech team - it seems that OC's tech team is just like the US, late risers ;) - i was quietly given their conference room and a cup of turkish café.
to be honest, i'm really blessed to be connected with this community. i guess i should tell you why...
well, my original contact has turned out to be quite unreliable and a bit of a flake... within that void, a part of the cairo technical/political/drupal community... we at least omar, amr, khalid, alaa and manal have done what they can to help me find a place to sleep, locations for food and wifi, beers to drink, a quite location to work... and soon subjects to interview... and for that i'm completely and absolutely appreciative.
not only are they working hard promoting and exploring the world of open source, but they too are in a similar fight to find and protect the few remaining elements of freedom. amid a world of injustice, without a doubt, i know i am in the company of brothers and sisters...
PS - as i write this, i am encoding Dries' interview and see there is a new addition to the family!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Recoded: 13 July 2007
Locations: Prague, Czech Republic
Tags: tol, activism, hacktivism, new media, central asia, freedom, citizen journalism
Music: Everything's Got 'Em by Harry Nilsson
About: For the first extended stay was in Prague, where I taught a corse on new media journalism for Transitions Online. On the last day, I interviewed Jeremy Druker, Executive Director, and Evgeny Morozov, Director of New Media.
back in 2002, my first "real" European city was amsterdam. for a weekend, i walked indulged in the sinful pleasures of the coffee shops and galked at the red light district.
five years later, i'm back to stay with tech maven andy smith, aka termmie, and nadya peek, profile the kids at RoomWare DevHuis and to see why so many designers, artists, and mavens are flocking to this city in droves.
Recoded: 17 July 2007
Locations: Berlin, Germany
Tags: coworking, travel, berlin, twittervision, dave troy, travis todd, popvox, growvotes
Music: a little boy playing the accordion, background music within coffee shop
About: while on my global hunt, i popped over to visit my friends will and sue. for two months, they are honeymooning and taking in the sites, sounds and joyful company of friends.
while i was in their company, i scheduled a few interviews. this particular interview was from travis j. todd (growvotes) and dave troy (twittervision, popvox) where we discussed everything under the sun. a thinthasied version of my thoughts can be found here.
check out more information on locations for freelancers, independents, and free thinkers, check out http://wiki.coworking.info
tonight, i leave berlin. in it's simple beauty, this city is just amazing. while i can't point to a single moment in time, i really like berlin.
the past three days have blessed me with an unique opportunity. not only was i able to interview three really unique individuals, but i also had the opportunity to share the house of two good friends and break bread with their new york friends.
when i departed, i was sad that my dear friends could not join me. after spending four days and three nights, i saw parts of myself i had not seen. the reflexive quality of this journey has yet to be fully understood, but knowing that a quarter an earth away reside a group of people who understand you is comforting. finding those same type of people on a random to berlin is even more comforting.
while i didn't see half of the things i should have seen as a tourist, that doesn't bother me. the time spent interviewing regine from we make money not art, dave from twittervision and travis, a budding entrapenure, couldn't have been better spent.
buried deep within the conversation with regine, dave and travis we spoke briefly about technology symbiosis, the future human cyborg, and dental care.
ok, they may seem a bit abstract, but here's the gist. long ago someone told me i was a cyborg. when you take the new oxford american dictionary "a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body."
then you remove "fictional or hypothetical" you can use the definition to describe someone wearing glasses, uses dialysis, takes medicine or has implants of some sort... the person we are now defining uses technology to augment their limitations.
if i asked a majority of you how you use your cell phones, 99% would say for communication. the other 1% use it for pleasure... in my mind, a cell phone, a computer, a network connection are all extensions of the human network. (editors note - yes, i know that's a cisco advertising phrase.)
that human network is alive and the connections on the digital network are also alive. too frequently to we mistake digital communications as impersonal. the advent of sony placing a camera within the confines of a laptop might have been to sell more laptops, but it eventually spurred many clones.
some may say with digital networks growing faster and ubiquitous, we have reached the dawn of a new era. i disagree, we are just moving along.
BUT at times we don't think of the consequences of this digital acceptance. my friend's at greenpeace have always made a good argument when it comes to technology. we need to be greener. we need to think about the over all consequences of the hyper connected world we participate within.
we have the power to enlighten our bad habits and explore our obscured connections. we have the power to use mechanical elements to explore the beauty of humanity and make this place better.
ok, did i really see all of that in berlin? well not really.
the long history of germany and the division between capitalists and communist was clear and present. the duality of a pacifist west and a militant east, and the subsequent rise of an east/west art war blew my mind. the fully adorned children's parks with young kids running naked and topless adults spoke of their true liberation. the formal direct language, and the cheap delicious food... all spoke to a world under construction.
what berlin presented was not another dirty megatroplis like new york, but a vision of something far better than what most americans see on a daily basis. i'm not sure who takes what for granted. in my eyes, i am ashamed to know of a pedestal where "liberty" is valued but you can't have more than 49 people assemble in one location.
oh how i could go on about the liberty of americans, but that would be self defeating right now. many more questions are festering and i'm about to be heading to a country that has more networked cameras per square mile than broadband... or something like that....
on my way to berlin, i slept and noted many thoughts. now that i'm reviewing them, they don't seem to make sense. i'll eventually get back to them. for now i have other things on my mind.
the past three days in berlin, fueled by friendship from will and sue, have gotten me thinking about the unique opportunity of berlin. divide by years, their identity is very reflective of the conflict and opportunity the 21 century faces.
yesterday, i went to the berlin wall. despite the fact that kids tagged freely, i found myself a pilgrim. a pilgrim to a wall of hate, oppression and fascism. the cold cement wall that baked in the sun was not a normal wall. this was a wall erected by men for the obstruction of freedom. frequently, i have found my self building similar walls, but unable to tear them down. unknowing how to free the mind, i've set out on this journey.
as day 10 has passed, i've started to see that many fears are diminishing and being replaced with opportunity. though time and perseverance, these walls are crumbling. sadly, the dreams i had of new york are also fading into a distant memory. the opportunity that lies ahead is not physical, but mental.
i now frequently wonder if neil stephenson's the diamond age contains more buried truths. more importantly, i wonder how the next 27 weeks will unfold.
yesterday, my friends and i heading into the scowling heat for a bit of sightseeing. wandering through the streets, we parked at a flee market and then departed for another round of pizza. one thing i have discovered, the flavor of berlin's punk rock culture has not been completely lost. unlike new york, you will still find hole-in-the-wall pubs with rockin flare or a pizza shop covered in punk posters and memorabilia.
today, i awoke early to interview regine from we-make-money-not-art.com and promptly came back to my friends flat to hammer out emails and to do a bit of research.
somewhere within the mix we headed back out to the scorching sun for a bite to eat. after stumbling upon a small turkish stand, we chewed on falafel, and marauded though the heat. somewhere around 3 pm, i passed out. since prague, i've now gotten accustomed to waking up early, working, taking a nap around 1 or 2 and burning the midnight oil until 1 or 2 in the morning...
after further research, it appears there is only one visa that might cause me hassle. reluctantly, i did not make arrangements for an indian visa. i assumed that that like every other country, india makes allowances for boarder entry visas. unlike the rest, india has a very beaurcratic method. apparently, you can only arrange for visas from within your country of origin. so, despite what wikitravel states, should i really be concerned?