(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. :)
as you might know, i've been twitter'n my inner most thoughts. instead of cluttering up the public space, i'm letting loose on the private space. so far, it seems that some readers have left and others have picked up the trail... as this journey unfolds, twitter is truly beholden to the best (#2) and the worst of this trip.
despite the fact i had no money in my checking account, a few days ago i tweeted a problem with my ATM card. within a few hours, i received a facebook msg from, ruby on rails evangelist / developer and nyc buddy, jeffrey ng.
apparently, the gang at eastmedia (which jeffry is a founder) was wondering "WTF" was going on with the message... i was honest and told him that i had run out money and about to start a sponsorship drive. low and behold, east media has decided to contribute $500 to the journey.
so, to the right you'll now see a little east media logo... if you're in nyc and happen to cross their paths, look them up. they are really good people.
btw, there's an anonymous donor who will be contributing $1000 for production. does anyone else think that that is fucking amazing!!! also, i'm in discussion with a few "community" based sites who are interested in contributing funds...
Technorati Tags: east
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...
(i'm cleaning out my drafts folder and see there are quite a few thoughts that never made it to the page.)
ok, i've now been in the USA for about a week, and i think i should be playing jaime brown's "welcome to america"... it's nice to skip around a town and see good friends. for the last three nights, i hug out with megan (a friend from austria) and now i'm with my buddy steve an old high school buddy. for the past two days, i've kicked around town, greasing my bearings and catching up on a few projects with digidave.
a few weeks ago a former contributor accused me of taking a vacation, and from what i've learned... one can not listen to negative opinions... long before this journey started, i faced the same negativity and mental oppression. never in my wildest thoughts would i think that someone who's all into a "peer-to-peer" society would get up in my grill questing one's impact on community...
finally, i met up with them... (and no, i won't name them... i hope maybe they will come around), but from what i've seen - they are as stubborn as the reflection that stares at me every morning. nonetheless, i know it's time to kick out all of my miss conceptions of what constitutes community and focus on my ability to capture what i'm seeing.
ps - the last line was said in a casey kasem voice.
in the meantime, i have a song for the rest of you...
Isn't the right thing to do
How can I ever change things
That I feel
If I could
Maybe I'd give you my world
How can I
When you won't take it from me
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
Tell me why
Everything turned around
Shacking up is all you wanna do
If I could
Baby I'd give you my world
Everything's waiting for you
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
today, i met the guys and gals of chipin! honestly, it really was a blade runner moment! don't worry, i promise you a complete recap of the past three days. in the meantime, i need to snag a few hours sleep. tomorrow, i'll visit pearl harbor and then depart to sanfran.
in the meantime, check out shane's tweets and rox's vlog! (why? while rox is away, shane is my live saving host! THANK TONY KATZ for the tweet!)
i'm just a few hours departing from the other-side of the globe, and i can't stop thinking about the mental victory i have accomplished. when i started this trip and for the first two months, i found myself struggling to leap over my own fears and jump into a different mental state. to be honest, this journey was conceived from a state of frustration. almost like a bad dream, i can feel the the veil removed.
i know i say this with a bit of pomp, but climbing around the world really does change one's perspective. yet, for some reason i want to think that i sought out to find a new world. in reality, i sought out this world with a blank slate and a big scooping of faith. when my first few steps skipped across europe, i was scared. i was really really scared. hell, i'm still scared that i won't make it back to NYC, but i have faith that i will. i have faith that regardless of the two negative commons i've received. i have faith this journey will widen the door on a dream we all hold, but find buried in the back of our storage units.
as i've said before, i have faith in the opportunities we construct and the hope of bringing everyone along. when i look across the global horizon, i no longer see a sunset but opportunity. i see faces i don't yet know. i see a world mired in problems and misconceptions. more importantly, i see how simple ideas of inspiration can create a world of faith.
now that i've woken up, climbed out of bed and picked out the eye snot, it's time to realize i have a little over a hundred more days on the road.
i am at my halfway point.
for the past two days i've been blessed to meet some of sydney's most unique personalities. from pia who started dorkbot sydney, piers who built his own open-source content management system, emily who is organizing a one day festival of inspiration, to juan who has given out free hugs for the past three years... these four presented simple ideas to invigorate community and help grow the global grassroots.
thursday, yesterday and today, i was blessed with a unique opportunity to hang out with juan mann and charlie, his silent accomplice. when i first walked up to juan and gave him a hug, a smile grinned from ear to ear.
yesterday, i was amazed to discover that juan and charlie, like noneck, is just an assumed identity. in a world filled with assumptions, it was amazing to find juan and charlie working to break the barriers of our walled gardens. through love and faith, juan has opened his arms and now (pseudoly convinced charlie) to open their home.
embracing a world of strangers is nothing new. inviting them into their living room is something totally new. actually, juan's take on open culture is interesting. sure he knows about couchsurfing, creative commons and open source. up until he decided to open his living room it didn't really have anything to do with his day to day... now that he's embarking on a open door policy, he's opening the door to open source and open culture.
the follow is intended as a primer for juan's new vlog/blog/social media endeavor. seeing how we both want to see more community based content, i'm going to share my thoughts and let you decide on what to do next...
first, one should think about the character you want to play. are you a devil? are you an angel? are you both? do you happen to look like a super model? does it matter?!
NOPE! if you're thinking about being a real character, do it... who cares?!?! it's your show... remember, on the internet no one knows you are a dog...
now you've realized that you are a dog, you have to think about many things... the dog house, the lawn, where your dog house is located, the fancy dish bowl, the sleeping mat, the food, the collar, the flea spray (which is a must if you're traveling around the world) and most importantly... the color of your dog house. (btw, there's no real correlation between the dog metaphor and what i'm going to write so don't be looking into the deeper meaning. just remember it is a dog eat dog world. RUFF!)
the dog house / your camera and/or studio... what type of environment are you going to set up in? is it loud? do you plan on going outside? do really want to have michael jackson's 80's "beat it" poster on the wall. if you're like me... it's a yes to all of them... if you're going to be outside, think of a camera that has an external mic connection and a mechanism to hold a shot gun mic. if you've got the dog food, see if you can find a camera with an XLR input. honestly, get your hands on different camera models, and see what works for you. don't trust one blog over another.
if you are in a pinch, get a cheap camera with an external audio input and purchase the external audio input contraption. 99% of sound from built in mics SUCK. any-who, if you're going to be uploading to youtube, your video quality doesn't need to be super high def. just make sure you get good sound!
btw, since you let me sleep on your set, it's important to tell your host's not to wear white or a color that matches your couch. i'm sure 6 months from now you'll be playing with 70's special effects and will find yourself in a world of hurt when the blouse of the most recent drug addict knocks on your door and happens to match the paint. so make sure you have a color contrast, and for stage lighting you might want to invest in some dim bulbs for your midnight reading/bathroom lamp/shop light.
the color of your dog house / think of your audience. who's your community? who's your audience? how can you tap them to make a difference? are the first questions you should ask... roll the dice on the first few hours of footage. from my observation, be yourself. you're one hell of a guy and the world needs to know the awesomeness charlie gets to love...
the lawn / the community. first, don't poop willy nilly. when you "gotta go" make sure it's not dumping too hard on someone. second, make sure you try everything in your power to participate and help build up a local (sydney) vlogger community. (maybe the first should go before the second? but if you're crazy character, #1 should come before #2... shit, i now see another pun... oh, and there is another one...)
if there's not a regular vlogger drinking session, create one. if there's not a monthly social, start one. if you don't know whom to invite, poke around metro blogger email lists on google or yahoo (if they exist), otherwise type in ("city"+video+rant) into a search engine, and then email the first gnarly video. you can also tap into the local barcamp, dorkbot or associative geek/art communities.
finally, when you get a really popular show or if you are already a young adventurous producer, investigate NING, but more importantly, check out the jetset show's mix or ask a ninja's fan club - it's pretty much hit every nail on it's head penetrating a nice solid cross pollination between show and interactivity.
(insert zadi's signature snaps here.)
the fancy dish bowl & dog food. let's say you are like juan and want to invite random people from the internet to your house. here's a tip... invite your friends to seed the show then you'll have coned the world people are really coming to your house.
more importantly, think of your friends and how their personalities can make you comfortable in front of a camera. then start recording. friends are GREAT subjects of experimentation. then, work your way up the food chain and invite random people whom you've had contact with over the past few years.
the sleeping mat, or your editing station and workflow. first, don't think you need some fancy-dancy laptop, hard drive, camera, software. i started off using a three year old powerbook, imovie and a borrowed camera. now i'm using a macbook with final cut express and a camera that is somewhat a pain in the ass to log footage.
if you are going to jump into the HD pond, it's a pain in the ass to stay afloat. to boot, finding the time to encode, edit, mix, then re-encode and upload is time consuming. just getting the hang of different editing techniques is a whole bag of wax that will make you envy Madame Tussaud. (the subconscious translation of this para - don't follow in my foot steps, by buying a camera and think it will be a simple flickr upload. it's snot, but with enough time and nasal decongestant you will become a pro!)
the food, the grub / getting your shit out there. i use blip.tv for web playback / syndication engine. what does that mean? once i've uploaded a quicktime file, i can wrap my podcast into my drupal blog and then configure (what seems like) a million and one other external connections to host my show. (por juan) then again, you have youtube connections and you shouldn't be scared in uploading your show to multiple locations... just look at the jetset show or rocketboom and see the multiple feeds they produce. it really does pay off to be diverse.
i would also advise a simple blogging engine like wordpress or blogger (if you're going to tap the google bling). BUT!!! i would highly advise that you look for a solution that wraps your blog's content and your video/audio content into the same RSS / XML feed. if it can't be done, you really shouldn't use it as your blogging engine. i know drupal can do it, but then again i know drupal can also make a vegimite and cucumber sandwich. (yes, drupal is that cool!!!)
the collar, the bling, or the communication network. social network sites, photostream, twitter, etc...
after spending three days with you AND your personality, i would go full tilt and start making your life transparent. first, it's all about wielding a bat in a china shop... don't be scared to be audacious in mobile comments (twitter) or candid photos of finefair tuna cans (flickr) and then when it comes to your blog, kick out the jams. you AND your personality are prime candidates for an MD from interweb comedical university. only you can resuscitate an exhausted web wasted world.
the flea spray, or how to keep the pests away. sadly, you invited me in and you're going to need to order some of this... :P
ok. that's all the free advice i can afford. after this, any consulting must be payed in hugs or good jokes... i'm so honored to have you as my friend!
btw, if you click on the photo, you'll be taken to a series of photos shot whilst on the road in AUS.
so in a long and winding road of woes, i've acquired a new set of travel companions.
they are microscopic, can live months on a single meal and are quite a annoying. they are the worst traveling companions one could possibly have. they are fleas. while i'm not exactly sure i have them, i am finding myself bothered by an increasing number of bug bites that seem to originate from nowhere.
in other traveling news. i'm now in melbourne in the humble abode of Ben Balbo, barcamper/flosser/super generous host.... and when i say host, i'm referring to the concept that i'm a flea in his house ;)
tomorrow night (aka 16 October 2007, which more than likely is today because i'm posting this message on the morning of the 16th) ben and a few others will be meeting at the Niagara Hotel (383 Lonsdale St) around 6 or 6.30pm for drinks, dinner and socializing.
come one, come all! ....just don't forget to bring the anti-ich cream. :)
as i check my global feeds, you should note the following...
- BarCamp Bangkok (google group) is kicking off! (good luck sugree and kenggg)
- kenggg i too miss you!
- tactical tech is hiring for three positions - Director of Operations, Business Development Lead, Communications Coordinator - if i wasn't on this blasted (joking) road trip, i would apply for the business development lead just to roll the dice.
- Open Source Initiative is also hiring! they need a spankin' programs manager to build up OSI's capacity and turn it into a rock star organization.
- thursday, ubuntu gutsy is released and the sydney linux users group has invited me to party with them.
- my friend zadi sent me (via twitter) sent me a "right brain v. left brain" test. not only does the test seem to short circuit my brain, but i'm disturbed by the attention to "detail." maybe my attention to detail is short circuiting the test...
- if you're in australia and if you have an old computer in your closet, consider donating it to IT Share.
- in sad news for all you 'creekers, Brian Jones, class of 96 member, passed away. my thoughts go out to his family. if you're looking for more info on his wake/funeral arrangement get in touch with *kristy* on myspace
lastly, today is day #3 in the northern territory library and it is located in the territory's legislative building. doors open at 10 am. at your disposal, you will find an assortment of global newspapers, a few lonely planets and 10 - 12 computers for public use. if you want to use the computers, you better show up early! within an hour of opening, the schedule for every computer is booked. if you have your own laptop, show up, latch on to their open network and plug-into one of a million and one power outlets. oh did i tell you that the internet is wicked fast?
oh and it's my last day in darwin. now that i've spent a week in "civilization" i'm shocked at the stares and weird looks i get. for two months, i walked down numerous streets not thinking to bits about my hairstyle. now, everywhere i turn i get glances of disgust or comments of hate. it SUCKS to find "civilized" people so self conscious of others. it's a shame there they have nothing else to worry about.
a fellow traveler and new york buddy is in need of a hitch... he's made it from NYC to boise, and now needs to find his way to portland. if you know of anyone who can give him a few miles, shoot him an email at matt[.at.]aroundamericaproject.com. below his is request.
I hit a slight glitch today in the project. My ride from Boise, ID to Portland, OR this Sunday the 7th canceled. He was a shoe salesman that was going to give me a ride, but sadly he was canned last week. It was the last volunteer I needed before I made it coast to coast. Boise to Portland is a 7 hour drive, so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do.
If anyone can help in any way or contact someone who may be able to help, that would be HUGE! :) Right now, it looks like I may be plum out of luck. I am sooo close to making it across the entire country.
Shoot me back an email if you have any (serious) ideas on how I can do it.
Thanks so much guys! And, thanks for watching and volunteering thus far. Wooh!
P.S. If for some reason this email reaches you and you have no clue as to what I'm speaking about, check www.aroundamericaproject.com.
well, today marks my three month anniversary. three lonely months tasting the global fruit and discovering that the question i've set out to answer is no more of a mystery than a mexican diner smack dab on the other-side of the world.
accompanied by a spaniard, a chinese, a new zealander and an australian, this merry fruit basket swung off the FCC roof top terrace into a den of happy pizza joints and one mexican diner. to my own astonishment, i found out that "happy" pizza is not just some local chain store, but instead code for stoners pizza. somewhere between happy to super happy, you can hop on a rocket made of dough and disappear into a blissful wasteland of "no-income" locals. if i would have known that happy pizza was more than just a chain, i would have opted for a something a bit more experimental. my regret runs high.
the concept of mexican food is quite normal to me. hell, it's not normal, but a damn staple of every poor brooklyn moment. sandwiched between $1 USD tacos to $3 USD falafel's, my standard NYC meal-to-go is cheap and authentic. then when i meet a new zealander who's developed a hankering for a burrito, i really started to wonder what exactly is she craving.
my last foray into "real" mexican food + one ocean was bad. on a small street in northern france, i devoured something that looked like a fajita. then came ruby tuesday's in delhi. a nacho plate piled high with cheese, jalipanos and sour cream, my stomach churned butter into milk. scored by the bill and burned by the taste, i was quite leerily of an other mexican meal.
with my only other alternative a "happy" pizza, i rolled the dice and found a seven.
the chips home made. the avocado rich. the black beans and the beef a bit sweet. all-in-all, i found a mini-slice of north america delightfully yummy and close to home.
as our global conversation spanned from reintroduction to work accomplished to our futures, i debated my own situation.
two weeks till the journey's turning point, i've had many thoughts on what will come next. deep within my own kitchen, i am cooking up a plan to combine all the things i've touched, smelled and tasted. sometimes things ends up a bit more sweet; sometimes a bit more bitter. i see my own future baking the stories of today into the power of tomorrow.
my outlook on life has changed, i see this world as a big kitchen full of ingredients, spices, pots, pans, ladles, etc... it's up to us to cook up our own media, feed our minds, nourish our souls and make sure the whole family has a bite to eat. the menu might change, the ingredients will vary, but the global family is always the same and i know there's enough for everyone.
what are you cooking tonight?
cost of living affordable.
if the kids in bangkok decide to put on a barcamp, i'll be there to help. i've discovered that thailand is very much a developing to be a jewel of south east asia. despite the one year old coup, open source and the geek community has a foot hold - thailand drupal, duocore, zickr, umbutu, and thai creative commons represent the rockin nature of our global conversation.
many thanks to sugree phatanapherom for cooking me dinner and let me stay at his house. sugree, can you tell your mother thanks for this morning's conversation!?! she kept talking to me in thai and i just nodded my head as if i understood. man, i can only guess what questions i answered. :P
...more to come later, but for now i'm off to Cambodia to interview the cats at the khmer software initiative.
as for a personal update, i feel fit and overfed but developed a sinus infection. i feel horrible that i haven't taken the time to hammer several blog posts and more horrible for the fact that i'm tied to a monstrosity of a video editing machine.
"keep it light enough to travel. don't let it all unravel!!" - the be good tanyas
things you should note.
- i got inked in the hindustan times! (noel is standing up and dancing the mashpotato!)
- tonight, i'm going to dinner with bangalore bloggers! many thanks to Thej who's spearheaded this gastronomical adventure.
- if you find yourself in bangalore, you MUST meet manju, his wife and their library. cradled down the street from a picturesque street lined with scooters and bicycles, this library (aka my couch) is a welcome retreat. once again it's humbling to find a large piece of humble pie.
- when i was in delhi, abby (the microsoft kidnapper) interrogated me and in my belligerent state i answered them.
- nora younis is keeping her twitter feed updated with news on the Egyptian textile workers strike. background, eight strikers were arrested for striking.
- my thai drupal buddies have laid out an impressive set of travel plans. if you know thai, please translate them for me. :)
- in the continuing world of home spun media - synchronis.tv is kicking out the jams with 35, a live sitcom in NYC. i've downloaded a few episodes and once again am amazed in the creative talent compressed within the confines of our networked boxes (ie computers!)
- around american in 2.0 is a young man's journey across the USA. back in july, matt and i first met in brooklyn and we are now on the road thinking of linking our conversations. we've debate some type of dual and i can only think of gastronomical contests. how do you think we should link our projects? (leave a comment)
- the internet is too slow for me to upload any new photos or videos. so it looks like you'll be stuck within the print! :P
last night, boy was there a fight.
after taking an eight hour bus from Naski to Mumbai, i found my way through the monsoon laden streets to yashish's company of friends. after commandeering two cell phones for directions, i found a small hotel with three restaurants. nestled in down a dark road stood, my destination was within aqua.
as i sat in an overly sterile environment, i found warmth in the company of nine indians. glued to a flat panel, we watched the semi-finals of the world's first T20 cricket match.
for those of you (like my self) who don't pay attention to cricket, let me enlighten you about a few things... first, the world over has found cricket to be a total bore. second, the world of cricket has a new shortened version. it's kinda like two innings with a pitcher throwing no more than 20 pitches. third, cricket is a fanatical sport. forth, india and Pakistan will play each-other in the world series T20 final. fifth, they are arch rivals.
as i've traveled around india, i see a sense of nationalism unlike any other. there's almost a hell bent attitude that india is ready to take over the world. maybe it's their position as one of the world's fastest growing economies. maybe it's their position as the largest democracy in the world. maybe it's their diversity. maybe it's their position as one of the worlds largest english speaking countries. maybe it's because of their diverse history and willingness to compromise to make things equal. maybe it's because they see beyond the horizon and see a world where their footprint will dominate the globe.
one can not overlook the impact india has on the globe. one can not overlook the pride indians have for their country, diversity, and history. the world can not overlook india.
today, i made a little journey. after last night's jaunt, i woke up with three agenda items... 1. get a new SIM card (btw, i'm writing up a long overdue review of SIM purchases for MobileVoices) 2. hang out with yashesh. 3. find a way to see shreya, a college student whom i met while at digital bridge camp.
the first two were quite easy to accomplish. yashesh is a geek, and despite his maxed out metered ADSL, has his geek connections. ten mins away from his house sits a train station. surrounding the train station sits a local market. as we passed by airtel, hutch, reliance, vodaphone advertisements, i wondered which provider would clam me as their next victim.
as i first attempted in egypt, i selected vodaphone as my vampire of choice. to my surprise, vodaphone gave me a kickass deal, 10 times better than airtel. i kinda felt like a schmuck after the kind booth-man handed me my pre-paid packet and i wooted out-loud.
after a 15 minute interlude of names, phone numbers, addresses, passport and visa numbers, i sent my first text message to shreya. who immediately informed me her younger sister was in town and plans would have to be "family" oriented. in my mind, that meant MOVIE NIGHT!
after my night at movies with omar, i am now hell bent on catching as many movies as possible. you really don't know a culture until you know how they experience movies. despite the whole concept of sitting in a dark room with the lights out, movies are highly social and provide a rare glimpse into the banality of life.
i arrived and immediately qued up to start my bewilderment. the man behind me, stood so close that his belly touched my back. every step forward endured another oppressive re-acquaintance with this discomforted. after two quick steps and a quarter turn to my right, i experienced his dirty fake italian shoe on top of my foot. not to mention his big-assed belly pushing my arm. fed-up with his physical comport, i created a force field with my elbows. in india, physical space is one of those things you create or deal. i took it to the next level and pretty much built the taj mahal between us.
after a bit of slow-going, i was in-front of an attendant with two options - sliver seats (300 rps / 7.50 usd) or regular (90 rps / 2.50 usd). confused, intrigued, bewildered and excited, i pulled out 1000 rps, felt like a millionaire and purchased three tickets.
when shreya and her sister arrived the movie was just about to start and my excitement was about to boil over. somewhere above my head sat three leather lazy boys with our names. walking though security was not a breeze. since isreal, every mall's entrance has a guard, metal detector and bag search. after loading up my pockets with an ipod, cell phone and camera, i set off more alarms than an that crazy old farmer who drove his tracker into washington monument.
apparently, cameras are allowed but not their batteries. cell phones, while allowed, are closely monitored. after a bit of my belligerence demanding to know where my battery would be kept, we dashed up four flights of stairs to one of the most amazing theaters in the world.
there was no opulence, just glutney. the concession stand was to the right. to the left stood seven or so booths for any tasty delight of your choice. hot dogs, ice cream, starbucks, sorbet, cell phones, books, credit cards... there was a booth for them all... not only was this theater in a mall, but there was a mall within the theater.
tucked away somewhere, i assumed there was another smaller theater, but couldn't find it. maybe it was on the half-level below me and i just missed it.
in the theater, we were quickly shown our seats - three fat lazy boys with electronic adjusters to recline. each one came with a soft pillow and a warm blanket. as i pondered when was the last time the blanket was washed, my naked wet legs found warmth. comfortably adjusted a mile apart from each other, the three of us sat in a row to watch "loins of punjab." (spoilers precede this statement. LOP was not entirely a flop, and i might see it again... so now you've been warned.)
the movie had it's moments and more importantly had it's defining moment at the tail end. unlike a majority of the attendants, the three of us arrived too late to stand for the Indian national anthem. well guess what happens at the end? the white guy who's vying for desi idol sings the national anthem. AND in spite of the Indian-American demand for no one to stand up... the entire audience stood up...
the three of us just kinda looked at each other, tossed some popcorn in our gullet and waited for everyone to sit down.
then something hit me harder than bars of soap on the fat guy in full metal jacket... ireguardless of the stereo type portrayed in American pop culture, this country is going to bite us in the ass. we might think of them as a little democratic brother, but india has a shit load of natural and mental resources unyet tapped.
the Japanese economic fright of the 80's is nothing compared to unsmoked resources of Goa. in more ways than one, i've got my money on india!
as i clean out my inbox, i'm noting a few things that one should check out...
- after six months abroad, bill boyles, fellow global traveler/vlogger/badass, is going on a drinking tour of the USA. download his revver podcasts vis-a-vis quicktime
- Sugree Phatanapherom, Patipat Susumpow and Isriya Paireepairit are preparing my Thailand itinerary to be a rocking adventure. when i land, they will ship me off to Price of Songkla University and find me a few subjects to interview for mobile active and might get me on http://www.duocore.tv/
- Handmade Nation, the rockin craft documentry profiled in episode 6, has a new teaser. they also reopened their ETSY shop.
- abby (abhishek baxi) , microsoft enthusiast and jelly delhi organizer, uploaded photos of our adventure to zoomr.
- chris penn thinks "luck of seven" is a good opportunity to pump up your linkage on search engines.
- sstrudeau wrote up the best damn reasons for you to contribute.
- beth went to cambodia bloggers summit, got sick on fried bugs and gave away geek shirts. HAWT!
- eddward hasbrouck, the practical nomad, will be testifying at a TSA hearing on the US's GOVT's latest proposals on surveillance, control and monitoring of travelers. apparently, the TSA is seeking to allow "government-compelled search and interrogation by unregulated, private, commercial third parties who would be 'free' to retain, use, publish, sell, rent, or disclose the records of our travels." if you get a chance check out his schedule.
- Siddharth, from Dristhi, has a blog where you'll find some of the work achieved by community video magazine makers.
- i've added a bunch of people who've blogged about the trip.
- finally, subscribe to jetset! their show rocks, the mix rules, and they are going to post an interview shortly.