i stand and look out at the wonder that is the world. beneath my feet, embedded in my flip flops are the peeples of discomfort, the ignorance of sand and the wet and wild world we call earth. in four short days, my journey will officially end. in four short days, i will return to new york city.
it's been seven months from my bed, my friends, my "stuff," and any notion of disposable income. i know little has changed; i know i am not the same. as the days wind down i face another moment of reflection. each passing mirrored moment, i see a million lessons wrapped into one epic journey.
but for this this morning, my brain feels a bit scattered. maybe it's the strong texas coffee. maybe it's my body still recovering from Barcamp TX and three nights of restless sleep. maybe it's the fact that i now see my footsteps as a thin film of butter on a global piece of rye toast...
maybe it's the understanding that for everyday after next, the job gets tougher and tougher. no longer can i skate bye and say, i'm skimming the global ice. now it's time to tighten up the laces, grab the hockey stick and summarize my understanding into the back of a net.
for the past two weeks, dr miggy has given me the gift of love and a small little space to carve out my ice sculpture. a week from now, i will be penniless in geneva while having the honor to help host the open stage conversations at LIFT. subsequently, i will get five minutes to present my sculpture. :)
...but before the moderate temperatures of time start to melt my understanding of the world, the following are the seven lessons of this journey...
"when facing goliath, bring your own sling shot." - egyptian linux users group; open source software users in egypt.
"the end of the world is a great place to put ideas on their head." - cowork central; providence in ushuaia
(btw, i originally started to break out each lesson via continent, but quickly discovered that the lessons were mirrored everywhere. these seven lessons are will grow to be the basis of the children's book and the documentary film.)
Recoded: 2 January 2008
Locations: Ushuaia, Argentina
Tags: julie jira, glacier, thoughts, new year resolutions, end of the earth, antarctica, adventure, ushuaia, argentina, video diary, luck of seven
Music: waiting for superman - iron and wine
About: back from her love affair with antarctica, julie jira (flickr) and i take to the slopes for a bit of new year climbing and more importantly glacier sledding! while on top of the mountain, i make some painful decisions about antarctica and make a new years resolution.
Recoded: 29 December 2007
Locations: Ushuaia, Argentina
Tags: free hugs, juan mann, hitchhiking, free hugs guide, end of the earth, antarctica, adventure, ushuaia, argentina, video diary, luck of seven
Music: over the rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
About: it's lonely out here... super lonely. the likely hood of me holding up a sign and heading south is dwindling fast... in between the infrequent hugs, i think about my buddy juan mann. he's the silly fool who became internet famous for hugging the world. juan's just released an illustrated guide on hugging and is making plans to travel the world for his own internet vlog.
it is day 13 at the end of the earth.
for the past 13 days, i've documented my story via video. so far, i've kicked out 8 videos and wake up every morning staring south at my last challenge. check out my holiday request and repost it to the rest of the world.
every door that has opened has not opened to antarctica. instead, i find myself in a small town with a few new friends and a long list of admirers. i really haven't had a day to myself, and the constant challenges have tested every level of my being. i am now up against a brick wall fighting through negative thoughts and working hard to keep my spirt up.
i have made it to the end of the earth and very few make it past this point. as of today, it is unlikely that i will find a commercial voyage that i can barter. despite that everyone says the same thing - i will not give up holding up my sign - "will work for antarctica." i know there are still untested door knobs (or if you are on a boat, latches). nonetheless, it's time to explore the last foreseeable option.
voyaging on a cruse is not cheap. if you make it to ushuaia, a last min ticket costs in the vicinity of $7,000 USD. fuel will cost another $200 USD, and then one is forced to purchase emergency medical and evacuation insurance at $200 USD. with taxes and jazz, i'm looking at almost $8,000 USD.
i have traveled around the world on the trust and hospitality of the world! i have traveled to the end of the earth exploring our social networks. i have placed my life into the hands of the internet, and you have carried me to the end of the earth. no longer is this one man's dream; i know the world is watching.
by the end of next year, i promise you an inspiring movie that will rock your socks and bring you to tears. if you contribute, i promise you a children's book. i promise your faith, your trust, your love will be rewarded! just as the world has given me it's love, all content will be given freely for the world to view. i have trusted the world and together we stand strong.
i know to some it might sound absurd to make it to the end of the earth and not try what i've tried all along... so i'm going to do what i've done best: asking you, mr and ms internet to help. so here's kick... link to chipin widget for $8000. if you have the chance to give, please do... if you are a corporation and want to sponsor the rest of the journey, feel free... contact me.
if you have cruse contacts or an ace up your sleeve, help a brother out. :)
ps - if you feel that this is a frivilous cause and one shouldn't spend a single cent on this exploration - consider contributing to Alive in Baghdad (community journalism) or The Frozen Pea Fund (breast cancer awareness).
Recoded: 16 December 2007
Locations: Ushuaia, Argentina
Tags: end of the earth, ushuaia, argentina, video diary, luck of seven, antarctica
Music: Don't Stop Believin' - Journey; Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin
About: i've made it to the end of the earth and don't have a ride to antartica. this is his first days' entry in a daily video diary documenting his stupid hitchhiking attempt.
(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.
sorry to be a ham and get all porkbelly on all y'all. i really don't even know where to begin. the american experience is one hell of a show.
as i write these words, the northwest seaside of washington passes to my left. to my right, everything that i've known fades into a bewildering memory of love. off in the distance, i see islands of prosperity, amusement and a future not yet determined.
since my return to the "main land" i've settled into the gentle embrace of friends. old friends, new friends, friends whom i once disagreed with... friends whom i'll never properly know... friends whom i still don't understand...
as the early morning fly fishermen whip, i wonder what i've caught. i wonder what type of trout has snagged my line. it's been really weird to know that i am four months in this journey. with a little more than 100 days left, i can feel the prickly point of having less than $70 USD in my checking account. i also feel the prickly point of this journey, but do not know what is the exact prickly point. i know that every step brings me closer to the big fish. yet, the fish i attempt to sang is perpetually eluding me.
off in the distance, a steam rises from an urban outcropping and video the scene wondering how my state of nature has evaporated, condensed, purified and boiled off. there are so many things i see that need work. so many ideas that have to be explored, purified and condensed. so many others need to be boiled, frozen or thawed. i no longer see a simple solution to world's woes, but ideas that can transform minds.
we don't need revolutions, we need an evolution to find symbiosis.
to be honest, it is hard to condense what i've seen. it's hard to sit and think about what we are doing when paul hawken brings about more conclusions than questions... frankly, i feel he's written every i wanted to say. it's hard to read benkler and think about the complexity of a networked solution. it is hard to balance the curatanical views of "community managers" who talk about a networked - peer to peer world - yet only want "their" way of salvation through sustainable consumption. it's hard to think of an open solution when history is stacked against us... it's harder to find a solution when many more questions bubble up.
traveling away form the coast, the cold earth hugs a dense fog and envelopes my train... i wonder where if the rosy picture of a networked ecology brings me any closer to understanding.
as we bank to the left and bend to the right, i wonder how to stand for something and yet stand for nothing at all... i wonder who is the conductor and who is the ticket taker... or wether there must either... i wonder how to let my own frustration subside and focus on the ecology of seven.
when i first boarded this train, i did not see an alternative ecology. now as we pass the steaming marshes of everst washington, i see a golden sunrise. a sunrise that awakens us to an opportunity like none-other. i see rays showering the trees with a million points of wealth. i see lagoons glistening with opportunity.
i see an evolution of revolutions.
no longer must we stand in line for gadgets, badges or briefs.
off in the distance, underneath an orange hard hat and donning an orange work vest, i see you.
thanks larry for lunch and our subsequent interview. btw, i'm STILL stuck on one word "happiness" and reactive social tools... for those of you who don't know larry, you should check out his "little" project - ma.gnoia.com it truly is social bookmarking done right!
so after meeting larry, i journeyed down mission st only to find forgotten memories of my high school wardrobe locked away in the overpriced second hand stores. i needed a jacked, and acquired a green army wool trench coat. it's exactly like the air force one i had my freshman year of high school.
sf is turning out to be an interesting journey through small town america... :)
to be honest, i don't know if today is up or down. BUT one thing i can tell you, it's 2.30 in the morning and i can't sleep. last night, i partook in a birthday party. a chinese birthday party. the luck girl was 14, the daughter of a visiting chinese philosophy professor and roommate to amit (my CS host).
after a long day of moped'n around the eastern side of the island, amit and i found some left-over chicken and fries while watching the red socks capture the pennant. then we found an opportunity to get sand it our pants at a beach film festival... realizing the barrel of monkeys was just have full, we headed to amit's home to celebrate the above mentioned birthday party.
after a blur of languages and one hissy fit (not the birthday girl but a friend of a friend who's detailed how she didn't want to be included in any recording effort done by my hands. i have no clue what planet she's on, but obviously we've gotten off to a wrong start. every statement / attempt of reparation fails in hindenburg proportions.) we sang happy birthday, ate cate and chomped on apples, mangos, grapes, and watermelon. in the mix came a cup of tea. one cup turned to two. two turned to three. three turned into too much...
(yes, i am listing to the jackson five while writing this...)
my body is quite sensitive to many stimuli. caffeine is like crack. one drop makes me freak out with thriller like proportions. sometimes, i can beat it. other times, it makes me travel to the single moment in time where i lifted the glass (and in this case) clinked with fellow revelers...
with today's/yesterday's time being moped introspective, i've got a few things that seem to be on the tip of my tung i can finally articulate... but knowing that today/tomorrow brings a new day, i wonder how they will change...
first, the world's state of nature is predicated on a single toothpick stuck in the gums of one man who will never be seen, heard from, nor contacted. like an evil puppet master, his tricks and dirty deeds come dirt cheap. (AC/CD) as it is up to us to fight his insanity, i have discovered these A... B... C... or is it easy as 1... 2... 3...??? (yeah, sometimes the jackson 5 and AC/DC work well together.)
come on, come on, come on, come on, let me show you what's it's all about... (dance, twirl, clap)
i think in due time, this list will get blown out to seven items... in the meantime, i've only discovered four... the other three are buried between here (hawaii) and Antarctica.
##. Tools / Language...
unlike hammers and shovels, modern technology requires a bit of skilled operation. if it's a training video or a simple instruction manual. the hammers and shovels of the 21st century require a bit of education. the tools we use to build the 21st century village are predicated in english. from construction, labeling, manuals, you name it... more than likely it was written in english and then translated. this education therefor limits the number of people who can pick up a cheap computer and bang away until a great cathedral is built. for native multilingual content, software must break the bounds of english.
unicode and open standards are the solution.
##. We the media in order to form a more perfect union...
first, like preschool, participation is key. second, the face of media needs to change from the hands of the few to the hands of the many. if tools are pliable, we no longer need to force feed our-self's idotiocracy. then we can speak our own minds.
citizen video units are the solution.
##. Confluence of the space time continuum, sprinkled with the spice of McFly...
since mcfly jr joined doc in the flying delorean, i've always been amazed with time travel. to be honest, i think we are stuck in a brief moment of time where we would rather write our own history than read what came before us. maybe it's the concept that old is... well old... i think old is the new pink!
it seems that so many lessons have been lost on the "educated" public. there are so many things we think are the new hotness, when in reality the old hotness should be cataloged into the new hotness. i'm not saying let's live in history, but that there are quite a few lessons to learn from history.
personally, there are many historical lessons i am starting to unearth. i've also started to see how "digital" is nothing more than enhanced "organic" matter. as we move though time, we tear down walls instead of building them. instead of depleting resources we should be inventing new ones. instead of standing still, we should be jumping and screaming at the top of our lungs saying "nanana, i don't believe you!"
flying delorians powered by a reactors the size of a cuzinarts is the solution.
##. the myth of scarcity...
i'm calling bullshit on this theory. i don't know why yet... but the solution will come when i have a time to get a phd in macro/micro economic philosophy. btw, didn't the world's top one percent make more than the bottom ninety-nine added up?
i'm not a socialist but i think something is wrong in our current solution.
##. faith, the belief not the perfume...
faith, like love, is not something you put on every saturday or sunday. it's time we get rid of this mama's boys talk about beliefs and realize that working WITH someone is better than saying my god is bigger than your god. last time i checked, there is only one planet and he/she/it is pissed we're poking holes, bleading the inner core and shaving off all the trees. ha, if earth was your little brother, he'd hate you.
having faith in yourself.
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!
this morning, Janet Hawtin sent me the YouTube video above. to my surprise, Juan from Free Hugs has crafted an open invite for anyone to stop by his house and hang out. as a huge fan of people allowing others to work / hang out / hack at their house, this is surely going to be a treat!
not only does it seem that i'll be one of the first "youtubers" to visit, as my Sydney plans unfurl, my last few days seem to be overwhelming! nonetheless, you can count on me to make the best of a limited schedule... if you have any advice, tips, tricks. send them my way!!!
WED NIGHT - 17 Oct
- sleep on bus.
THURSDAY - 18 Oct
- 08h30 arrival at Sydney's bus station.
- morning, find wifi, have breakfast, coordinate contacts. (anyone have recommendations?)
- post-noon, meet up at Pitt Street Mall in the centre of Sydney with juan from FREE HUGS. we will hug people. (thanks janet for the introduction!)
- 19h00, sydney web standards meetup to hear jo kay talk about second life and mick liubinskas talk about "a trillion tiny transactions" (thanks christy dena for the invite.)
ps - anyone have a place for me to lay my head? it appears i forgot to coordinate a proper place to crash?
FRIDAY - 19 Oct
- 08h00 blogger breakfast at single origin. (thanks emily reed)
- Free day to document my final thoughts on australia with nice touristic backdrops. (editor's note - if anyone want's to be my host that would be fan-tab-ioulus!!!)
- Work my way to Juan's house and document any YouTuber's who show up / make our own YouTube video discussing the importance of an "open door policy" - (also see Coworking & Work at Jelly)
- Evening - Dinner with a Barcamp Sydney Organizers
- Spend the night at Juan's house.
SATURDAY - 20
- pack / organize / fret.
- 14h00 depart for airport and subsequently the United States of America. (i can't wait to find out what questions i'll be asked at customs.)
ok, now i'm off to explore melbourne!
simon slater, a fellow traveler from the UK and around america 2.0's cousin, emailed me a bunch of really good questions.
when i taught at Digital Bridge Camp, i had an opportunity to meet fellow vlogger freeman murray. though our frank discussions, we agreed that once on the road it's hard to reflect. if you have any questions, comments, ideas, concepts, feedback or suggestions - i'm always open to new ideas.
if you've been following my twitter feed, i've recently had to respond to some unjust criticism. hopefully, the critical party will allow me to publicly post my response. until then, here are my thoughts to simon's questions.
1. How have you gone about finding agents of social change, and can you describe the outcome of the most notable meeting? Have you discovered any new ideas that can be shared? Have you come across any major environmental breakthroughs?
one question? looks like a three parter to me... :P finding agents of social change has been a bit easier to find than original imagined. i have a fair share of sources that i read (slashdot, globalvoices, other blogs) then i have friends and contacts who've been monitoring different conversations to provided extra input. for example, i was exchanging a few ideas on a facebook "wall-to-wall" when Mary Joyce, chimed in and sent me a list of email address, urls and phone numbers of people whom i should contact in cairo. very helpful and super timely.
the most notable meeting was with stalin k. of drishti media collective and video volunteers. through their work, a few rural villages in india have their own video news magazine. with a majority of the population "uneducated" and "illiterate", drishti and video volunteers helps organize small groups of regional villagers to create citizen video units or CVUs. these citizen video units film, edit, produce their own stories, detailing their solutions to rural problems. every month, the video is presented in regional rural villages and conversations are held discussing the subjects from jungle malaria remedies, farming tips or general news of who's doing what.
in short, the villagers create their own media. as we move from one form of entertainment to another, we too need think about our own citizen video units.
as for major environmental breakthroughs, naw... we're still screwed... i think my major breakthrough came when i went to the local markets in india and cambodia and saw that everyone uses plastic bags and plastic bottles. then when i walked the surrounding streets, i saw the same type of bags littered everywhere. if we really want to clean up our environment and change the way the world works, we need to change the way we think. connivence isn't everything.
2. During events where people from the world of vlogging and blogging come to meet and share ideas, is there a general consensus on a particular direction that the world of SNS is taking us, or are the possibilities endless?
well, it depends on whom you ask. some think it's going to augment or replace the news-reporters of tomorrow. other's think their blog is the end all be all. if you ask me, i'm tired of living in a broadcast world. if video killed the radio star, vlogs killed TV. i see the future of media in outlets like Alive in Baghdad, Video Volunteers, Jetset, The Burg.tv... well that's just to name my friends... these outfits throw debt to the wind and refuse to allow anyone else dictate their "feed"... somewhere between networked journalism and citizen journalism is the future. (see jay rosen & jeff javius for more fun)
in reality, the possibilities are endless. one has to think of the internet and the devices that connect to the network it as tools. these tools, like hammers and shovels, can be used to build or destroy anything. from complete virtual worlds to a simple connection between two people, i don't see these "things" as just tools but pathways connecting emotions. regardless of where emotions happen, they are real. the other reality is that this world can easily be flipped and everything we do can be monitor, tracked and controlled. chris messina wrote an interesting piece on "big sister" but until that day, we still have agents of power "reforming" long lasting liberties into shadows of their former self. just take a look at the past three issues of the economist where they detailed the erosion of civil liberties within britain and the united states.
wether it's a hammer, shovel or iphone, i prefer to see tools build society not destroy it. then again, anything is possible... we could be nursing a life force that will kill us one day by building the next atom bomb. as of today, science fiction has turned out to be fairly real. who knows what's next?!?!
3. Your trip aims to inform and inspire ideas among its viewers. Considering the high number of young people taking gap years before and after higher education, in what other ways do you think people can follow your example without necessarily repeating your idea? Did you have any other plans formulated before embarking on 'luck of seven'?
actually, i started this trip to educate my parents on the work that i've done. it's since then, i've found my own inspiration within the voices of everyone whom i've met. i think that the "gameboy" or "myspace" or "facebook" generation needs to see how their goods are produced... it doesn't really matter what you consume, there needs to be some type of physical connection to the items we consume from cold air conditioned shelfs.
first, i know that i'm really lucky to have the fortunate to make this voyage. as every day passes, i think about how we can change our lives to help others and make this mess a bit tidier. internal and external exploration is the key. i see the world a bit more conservative than i first thought, but also very friendly. you don't have to have a penny to be nice. dream frequently and follow your passion. if we only have one life, make sure it counts for something. if we have more than one, let them build on top of each other... last time i checked, there is only one earth but a several billion people on it... question everything, explore what you can and try to understand the rest.
did i have any plans other plans? yes, but being the first lawyer on mars really doesn't seem to be appealing.
4. Could you explain what you mean when you say there is an 'art' to discovering, for example, someones facebook page?
yes and no. when i talk about discovering people i talk about two things - a physical meeting and an online meeting. as there are tricks to meeting people, there are tricks in meeting people online.
a physical meeting is the hardest. one has to be inquisitive and highly adventurous to ask the right questions that lead to a common bond to build a platform for further conversation. regardless of gender, it is a simple pickup line. with native english speakers it's easier. with ESL (english second language) it becomes harder but ten times more rewarding. i say it's an art because like art it is hard to find the beauty within everyone. i know everyone has something worth admiring.
as for meeting people online, most people place a good deal of personal information into their profile, and therefore it's easy to "profile" people. more importantly, it's easy to find people with similar interest. when it comes down to couchsurfing, there is a great deal of trust between two parties. therefore it's important to look at someone's profile details and see if they share similar interests (photos, interests, groups, books, movies, etc). it sounds easier than reality. sometimes i'm right, sometimes i'm wrong. most of the time, i'm right about a few things and wrong about others. in the end it comes down to the adventure.
also, i can't help to think that it helps looking like broad brutish male. when i seek adventure, i feel safe knowing many people won't give me flack. when i talk to female friends about their adventures, there always seems to be a question of physcial security that never comes to mind when i travel. then again, huixian he, a petite female friend in pheom phen, has traveled a good deal of asia by herself. sure she's had a few bad experiences, but she's always has her running shoes.
in the end, looking like a sucker will always get you into trouble. having a positive outlook and being ready for anything is the best way to take on the world. it takes a great deal to escape your comfort zone, but meeting the world is well worth it. i'd like to think that there are more of "us" than "them."
5. Will you be seeking a platform for greater recognition of potentially important ideas that you have gathered once you have returned? Will this branch out to other media and if so how?
yes and no. besides my blog, vlog and photos - i'm writing a children's book, seven lessons learned from the seven continents. maybe an adult piece detailing the intimate parts of my insanity. without a doubt, i will make a documentary film of this journey. when on the road you have a great deal of time to think. i think these ideas and the solutions to these ideas are worth their weight in gold.
in the end, i'd like to think that i'm a simple man, but my girlfriends will tell you otherwise. i see many wrongs that need to be corrected. i also see many complex problems that have simple solutions. where i go after this is unknown. while i would love to have greater recognition of the ideas, these are complex ideas with simple solutions mired in selflessness. i still have a much to learn about the seven issues i have selected, the world that embody them and the best way to discover solutions to our problems.
6. And finally, if Jack Karouac was the inspiration of the term 'beat generation', does this new couch surfing movement have a name?
man that's heavy. if you look at history, you'll always find travelers and 'beatniks.' i'd like to think we are more than 'surfers'. every statistic says we (the global digital middle class) are driving quickly into a world where we refuse to accept broadcast solutions. (i need to find sources, but i know they exist! until then i will just refer to the ecology of free culture solutions that i am exploring on this journey.)
"starfish and the spider" is a simple book that illustrates examples of centralized and decentralized networks. if you look at decentralized networks, you see a starfish. if a starfish is cut in half, it will regenerate the other half. if you look at centralized networks you see a web. if you cut a spider or a web in half, you destroy the network.
as the old New Yorker cartoon illustrates "no one knows your a dog on the internet." i now see generations spanning the technological divide. as our ideas grow, replicate and get remixed, i see us in an androgynous world. frankly, regardless of time zone, age, gender, race, income and nationality we are making a starfish generation.
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?