Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.
Done And To Do
What I’ve Done
Done quite a bit expeditions. These have taken me almost anywhere you care to name. Bay Ridge to Bed-Stuy. Roxbury to Ridgewood. SoHo to South Bronx. The following is out of order both distancewise and chronologically. Some expeditions were as short as 7 miles, others quite long. A few other expeditions are omitted because they have no nice verbal description whatsoever and were in many senses random walks. They were still amazing. In fact all of these were. Even if the earth gets vaporized by a solar flare right now I’m glad I managed to do these. Some of these I did alone, others with friends. Of the ones where I was with friends I was usually accompanied by my friend Paul Backus a very remarkable individual in his own right. Met him at this course on calculus of the complex plane/complex analysis(deep stuff even two years later I’m still not quite with it) which I took during my “senior” year. Though me and a couple of others were in the lead pack he was the big dog(not to mention the hairiest). He’s also the one that helped me switch to Linux. He studies computer science at Brown. Absolutely brilliant guy. The expeditions have really helped us be friends. Before that there was some weak collaboration on math/computer things and on this other project I was working on to help other dropouts(down for now but not out). The expeditions though and working together to overcome difficult obstacles is what we owe our friendship to. That stuff builds friendship like nothing else. These expeditions have done a lot for me. Anyway here’s what I’ve done so far with a few light comments.
- On June 13, 2009 I walked from my place in Midwood, Brooklyn(that’s quite deep in Brooklyn) all the way to New Jersey. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was 21 miles. It changed my life. This was the one that started the others. I was joined by Paul maybe two thirds of the way in. Having him there really helped me out a lot. This being my first such venture I didn’t know what to expect. Having someone else cover my back helped quiet the what ifs? Heights terrify me. Including my own. The railing on the George Washington Bridge was maybe up to my waist. I was honestly was scared to walk across it. My biggest problem is that I was afraid that I’d get up to the bridge and be unable to cross. Also when doing research with Google Earth you see this strip of green stuff between the bridge and the streets. But how to get through it into Fort Lee? Sure you see the bridge turn into the New Jersey turnpike but you can’t walk along that. I read the green stuff was a park. But what if I decided to explore and got lost? All these dumb what ifs? Also as I was extra what iffy I was looking up bathroom locations on this site. All the public bathroom shown by it in Upper Manhattan were in police precincts. That doesn’t boost your morale. Could I have done that without him. Possibly. But there was a significant chance that I could’ve failed.
- On another occasion I walked to New Jersey somewhat deeper in and back that was 43 miles. That was arguably the goal on that first walk but since I had no idea if I could do it that day I resolved to myself that I’d be happy even if I did it one way. Showing myself that I could do it both ways felt really gratifying. Also it was done on the birthday of my friend Michelle. She was one of the first with whom I shared that idea to walk to New Jersey and one of my biggest supporters in the endeavour. To have done it that day of all days felt amazing. No other way to put it.
- I walked to Breezy Point(the tip of the Rockaway Penninsula) and back. This one was amazing. Like once you cross the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge(amazing view) onto the peninsula just wow. A whole new world there. Some areas there are so different that like had you seen what I saw as a picture you’d never have guessed this is a part of New York City. Just like this amazing small town and exotic island feel. It’s a profound shame that I didn’t take my camera with me that day. There is some good news there though. Since that expedition was so awesome I decided to grab a few interested friends and go there again. This time I took photos but of a somewhat different route. This one failed since sadly people were under-conditioned and tired quickly. In the end there was just me and Andrey who lasted the longest in spite of having had a severe knee injury requiring intense surgery and six months of rehab. It would’ve been nice to make it to the end together but he wasn’t quite up to it. I respect him for having made it that far. We made it to the 9/11 memorial, paid our respects, took some photos, and headed home.
- On another occasion I walked to Breezy Point taking a longer route via Cross Bay Boulevard which was twice as long as the shortest way to Breezy Point. The walk along Cross Bay Boulevard is just incredibly awesome highly recommended.
- I’ve walked to the tip of Red Hook and back.
- I walked to Whitestone Point(the northern tip of Queens). This one was awesome for reasons I can’t quite explain. Left me with nostalgia that persists today.
- I’ve walked to the southern tip of City Island. Look it up on a map if interested. If you haven’t heard of it I can’t blame you. I myself wouldn’t have known about it if it wasn’t for my friend Iwona. Its claim to fame is that it’s the most remote point in NYC. I call that the marathon walk because the distance for me was approximately as much.
- The day after that I thought it would be amusing to walk to Dead Horse Bay and back. Recommended to me by Jasper an actuary I met during the Gerritsen Beach expedition. Fell out of contact with him unfortunately. Hope he’s doing well. Sadly my timing was bad as it was high tide. I couldn’t explore a lot of what I wanted. It was kind of disappointing. Nonetheless I got a thank you for coming present before I left. The Marine Parkway bridge doesn’t get lifted often. In fact that was the only day I’ve seen it go up. It was really cool watching it slowly rise then settle.
- I’ve walked to Roosevelt Island and around its perimeter in a UFO shaped balloon sort of fashion. Or at least that was the idea. Sadly the southern tip of the island is cordoned off. I can’t help but wonder what’s there. I can’t see it from the Pulaski Bridge. I can’t see it from the side of the Queensboro Bridge that’s open to pedestrian access. Even when walking Manhattan’s perimeter once you hit the Queensboro on your way down the east side the nice walkway ends forcing you onto the streets for a while. Even from there nothing. The images from Google Maps don’t shed no light on the party either. I guess that’ll always remain a mystery. Unless maybe by boat…
- I’ve walked to Manhattan via the Queensboro bridge on 2 different occasions taking 2 different routes all because I wanted to cross the Queensboro Bridge. Also I wanted to get to know Brooklyn and Queens better.
- I’ve walked to Gerritsen beach and back. Amazing the nice little places in the neighbourhood.
- I’ve also walked from 96th Street in Manhattan through Harlem, across the Willis Avenue Bridge, into the Bronx, through the Bronx, to the Washington Bridge, back across into and through Manhattan finally to cross the George Washington Bridge into you guessed it New Jersey. The idea there was to explore more of the Bronx and cross one of the towering bridges of High Bridge Park. When walking Manhattan’s perimeter they really set an impression on you.
- This one’s the elephant in the room. I have walked up to Manhattan, around its entire perimeter as strictly as possible, and then back home. That was my longest expedition a whopping 48.something miles. Very difficult. Like the salmon ladder but for those of us without bone ripping upper body strength. I only succeeded on my 5th attempt in the process doing two whole laps around Manhattan. The story behind this one is absolutely epic and very very long. I call it the Epic Saunter because an environmental activist group called the Shorewalkers walks Manhattan’s perimeter the first Saturday of May rain or shine every year and they call it the Great Saunter. I’m sure you’ll agree that I’ve gone well above and beyond that and that the name I gave this expedition is justified.
- On May 7th, 2011 I did the Great Saunter. It was fun though not as well organized as I thought it would be. Also on my own I kept towards the perimeter in a much stricter form. Possibly the strictest possible form. Anyway it was good. I met a bit of people including Cy Adler himself. Though not as many people as I wanted. With long legs, reasonably good walking speed, even when I tried to slow down to meet people I still unfortunately wound up in the first 10 finishers out of about a thousand participants. Again don’t make too much of this as it wasn’t a race. Some people started long before me others long after. Of course as the day progresses things really get split out. If it was a race I’m sure I’d do very well, but I don’t know if top 10 well. Also I don’t know what place I’m in exactly as again this isn’t a race. At first when we(me and this other dude Michael) hit the finish at the Heartland Brewery we were looking for the welcoming committee which turned out to be very small because there was almost nobody ahead of us. At first we thought we were in the top 5 but since like 1 or 2 people left were told that maybe not but we were definitely in the top 10. Also props to Michael for doing as well as he did. At full height he’s only as tall as me sitting up. He was also coming off a knee and ankle injury nothing too serious but still wow. But one can’t be too surprised because he walked 50 miles in the NJ2NY50 in 17 hours. That one was absolutely brutal. Possibly harder even than the Epic Saunter. Last year out of 50 participants he was one of only eight to reach the end. He said he would do it again in two weeks. According to the link he did. This year more than 60 people participated. 9 made it including him. The guy’s a phenomenal athlete and it’s a shame it slipped my mind to exchange contact information. All I have to say is man points to him. I also feel compelled to mention one more interesting person I met. Sadly this is an example of what not to be. As I was working my way down the east side I met this kind of old man. I don’t remember his name but I call him Old Beast. And he is a beast just let me tell you. He loved to walk. Distance wise he’s walked NYC to SF, back, and then some. Sadly that is only distance wise. In actuality though he wanted to walk across America all he did was compute the relevant distances, go on many long walks around the city, and keep track of it all with a pedometer. For reasons that aren’t quite clear to me he wasn’t able to get out on the big journey. So to make himself feel better he had to do that though the reality was that he was walking around in circles. That saddened me deeply. All I know is that beasts like him were meant to roam free. He was doing really well. Even as far down as past the Queensboro more than 7/8 of the way around he was still with me and Michael in one of the lead groups. He only separated from us to get some food. What became of him later I don’t know as I didn’t see him at the after party. All I know is that I hope he does it and not just once but 10 times to compensate for all the bullshit that stood in his way.
- I walked from the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal to Staten Island’s southern tip. This is also the southernmost point in all of New York State. Read about it here.
- I did this really cool loop through Brooklyn. Walked up Ocean Ave til Flatbush. Took Flatbush all the way to 4th Ave. Followed 4th Ave through Sunset Park and Bay Ridge all the way to Shore Road Park(also did that in its entirety both ways multiple times but dunno if that counts as an expedition). Took the walkway to Caesar’s Bay. Then walked home.
- Walked to the SI ferry, took it to SI. Walked and for lack of a better term hitchhiked an approximate total of 75% of the perimeter. Really amazing day. Read about it here.
Training Expeditions To Be Done
Walking coast to coast is no easy task. I currently don’t think I’m in the shape to do that. Also I need to work all the kinks out now rather than later. Otherwise if I start out unprepared I’ll probably be eaten by a bear 50 miles into Jersey. Regarding this point I’ll modify a quote from Dylan Baker for this one. Sure it’ll make a nice blog post, but it’s gonna be one lame ass obituary. The point is these are designed to get systematically more difficult testing me to my very limits. The education from them will be invaluable. Even from the smaller ones I did I learned a lot of lessons.
Take as a trivial example that first walk to New Jersey. I took a cap with me in case of the sun. However in practice that day it proved useful for something else. As me and Paul were walking it started raining. First slowly but then stronger. Eventually it got strong enough that I couldn’t see. Paul had a cap on. I eventually remembered I had mine too. So I put it on and after cleaning my glasses as best I could there was again vision. We walked a bit more then the rain let up. We were soaked but we still finished and had a great time. What if I didn’t have the cap and the rain lasted longer? Then I’d have been trapped and unable to see on that stretch of Riverside Park overlook in Washington Heights for a while. Would it have killed me? No. Since it was on June of 2009 I don’t know if I’d even have gotten a cold. But still it could have potentially been unpleasant.
Now lets fast forward to the day of my third failed Epic Saunter attempt. I just cleared Harlem was below 96th working my way down. The storm clouds were gathering. Didn’t know when it’d rain. Just knew that it would. But that day I was ready, better equipped than a spetznaz. I had a raincoat, goggles, a cap, even a sweatshirt. Put it on. Walked through a small storm no problem. Ultimately it’d be blisters which did me in that day.
The point I’m driving at is things as simple as rain can potentially be a showstopper. Some things I thought would be problems turned out not to be an issue. Other things I wouldn’t have thought of in advance popped up. All in all I feel that these training expeditions are very valuable. Better work out as many kinks as possible now rather than later. Though even the following won’t leave me perfectly prepared I still think they’ll do a reasonable job of readying me for the long haul. Also they are each worthy expeditions in and of themselves. Hopefully I’ll be able to move them up soon. Anyway here they are:
- The goal here is simple, walk to Staten Island’s southern tip and back. To do it is complicated because you can’t walk across the Verrazano to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island. There’s only one way on by foot and that involves walking to New Jersey and going down the coast till you hit the Bayonne Bridge which you then cross into Staten Island. The distance is approximately 100 miles and will take three days therefore.
- On a big expedition what if the worst happened short of being kidnapped or murdered or hopelessly lost(say you’re on vast plains trying to reach civilization wandering in circles till death)? What if you got robbed? Perhaps lost/misplaced all your equipment somehow? What if you ran out of money? Suddenly you find yourself alone and with nothing. What do you do? This is where I find out. Though I’m severely lacking in both finance and equipment on all my previous expeditions up to that point I had something. This time around I start out with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back. The goal is to at least walk to and possibly summit Bear Mountain. Then walk back. I only take enough money for a ride back home. This money cannot be used for anything else like say bootstrapping myself to more money via some sort of other scheme(perhaps some crackpot gambling venture with chess hustlers over a game, perhaps something I haven’t even thought of). For all respects and purposes that money does not exist. I will also take my cell phone but it will not be used except in the direst of circumstances or possibly once a day confirming to family/friends that I’m still alive. Again essentially the phone doesn’t exist and will be kept off. The point is this is designed to handle the absolute worst case scenario. I don’t know how I will do this. But I must figure out as the road is not forgiving to the unprepared. It’s a huge leap of faith in both myself and the world around me. I have no idea how I will pull this one off. For food I may dumpster dive. There is an amazing amount of decent food thrown away. As far as dumpster diving goes I have been to freegan meets and have a bit of experience. I’m not good at it but may improve. I’ve eaten dumpstered food before and am perfectly alive. Also I’ll try to see what edible plants there are. Obviously this will require very careful research beforehand because poisoning myself is not in the job description. I may also need to ask for help convincingly. Who knows how that will go. But if it wasn’t a challenge would it be worthwhile?
- First I walk to Shore Road Park and walk it completely. This ensures that I have hit the western tip of Long Island. I then walk to Orient Point the easternmost point of the northern fork of Long Island. From there I arc around and walk to Montauk Point the eastern tip of Long Island. Then I walk back home completing a circuit that resulted in me walking Long Island west to east and back.
- Here I again test myself against the worst case scenario. The goal here is to get to Albany and back. This expedition is so difficult that I may allow for hitchhiking and other means of transport to do this. Obviously that lowers the difficulty but that’s absolutely fine. The point here is to show myself that in case of the worst that I can revert back to a stable state for some definition of stable.
- If you look at the Map NYC, Providence, and Boston are almost co-linear meaning I can combine two awesome expeditions into a nice even more awesome one. First I walk to Providence. It’s an interesting city not to mention my friend Paul goes to Brown and it’d be cool to visit him there if classes are in session at the time. Then I walk to Boston. Then I walk back home and close the triangle knowing that I am ready for and can handle anything on the NYC to SF big walk.
Other Cool Expeditions To Do
These don’t really fit into either of the above categories. I just think they’d be cool to do. These may or may not happen. Hopefully some of these guys will move up.
- Of course one starts wondering can Breezy Point be reached without crossing any bridges? It can if you take a long arc. That’s what I plan to do. This will require me to dip out of NYC till I hit the Rockaway Peninsula. I want to do this both ways. It’ll be 60 miles so a 2 day trip therefore.
- An interesting spin on going long and far is going long and near. Inspired by an expedition done by New York Times reporter Andy Newman where he walked the 75.4 laps around his block that make a marathon distance. He did it to get to know his neighborhood and block better. I kept it in the back of my mind but didn’t ponder it too seriously. However I just might do it in light of recent events.
Checklist Of Cool Things I Want To Do On My Expeditions
- [UNDONE] As I’m sure you folks have clearly seen I’m not a big fan of borders. Well to some extent neither is No More Deaths. Granted they’re nowhere near as opposed to them as I am they still are a step in the right direction. Rather they are opposed to the many painful deaths that happen at the US-Mexico border. They understand that it’s not from the good life that many Mexican migrants brave the dessert and undertake so much risk to get into the US. They work for more humane immigration laws and more humane treatment of those detained by border officials. But it doesn’t end there. Here’s the part where it really gets badass. They drive into the desert and there they leave gallons of water. On them are inscribed two words. Buena Suerte. Good Luck. Obviously food is also dropped off. In addition they try to help heal the injured and even have an outposts on the Mexican side of the border to provide further medical help to deportees. All in all badasses. If I have the chance or am in the area I will help them in whatever capacity I can.
- [UNDONE] These days many a traveler takes a laptop(notebook, netbook, whatever) with them. The goal here is to go coast to coast with a Linux powered laptop. I may even be the first to do so. Though I can’t know for sure because for a brief period when netbooks started becoming the bomb a lot of them came with Linux preinstalled because of its ability to run on limited hardware… Who knows what other coast to coasters used… Sadly those days are gone now to the best of my knowledge… But either way I want to get out there help raise awareness and show everyone the awesomeness of Open Source and that yes Linux can. Furthermore now if ever is a very important time to stand up for Open Source. With the coming of Windows 8 our right to operate our own machine and push it to its full potential is in danger. Since most if not all PC manufacturers are in bed with Microsoft they will glue to their computers a Windows 8 compatibility logo. However Microsoft has imposed on them the requirement that if they ship PCs with that logo they must implement a feature called Secure Boot which prevents operating systems from booting unless they are signed by a key from Microsoft or the PC manufacturer themselves. This can be a good thing to prevent unauthorized use of a machine. However it depends on how it’s implemented. This can prevent a user from running an alternate operating system alongside or instead of Windows depending on what their needs. Whether it does that or not depends on if the PC manufacturer will allow Secure Boot to be disabled or alternatively somehow allow the system administrator to boot other operating systems whether open source or hell even competing closed source to perform needed functions. This all depends on how UEFI(Unified Extensible Firmware Interface a standard defining interaction between the software and hardware of a computer) is implemented. In addition even when booted to an operating system some implementations may restrict your ability to run programs unsigned by Microsoft as well. Again this is a threat to both open source and to competing developers of proprietary software as well. This may end well or it may not. It’s up to us to decide what we choose. It’s not time to panic and flip out yet but it is the time to be very very cautious. While this can end well I’m not optimistic. Current PCs allow the system to be protected at the BIOS level from booting to any OS without the “system” or in older machines called “primary” password. It’s not hard to set up the password as a simple but reasonably effective security measure so long as you’re not completely stupid. Thus I really question with everything I have whether UEFI is necessary. It’s only possible advantage is that if implemented in a way that secures and not restricts you will have security on this one front by default as opposed to opt in. Again our freedom/security must be monitored carefully. Either we control the technology we use or it controls us. Thus I will do what I can to help freedom along. UPDATE: Luckily partly due to user protests and mostly due to the resistance of corporations who were stepped on by this now we have a partial victory. Microsoft changed the Windows 8 Logo Certification Requirements so that all computers of a none ARM processor architecture must allow for a way to turn off Secure Boot or install new keys. However all ARM based computers must be locked down with Secure Boot and you aren’t supposed to be able to disable it. In plain English this means that on your tablet or smartphone you’re stuck with Windows. Obviously the best way to resist these jailed systems is to not by them and talk to Microsoft ans other big corporations in the only way they understand by hitting their bottom line. FURTHER UPDATE: Though we have dodged the UEFI/Secure Boot bullet Microsoft’s restrictions have still made it significantly harder to boot from/install an alternate OS. Just because turning off Secure Boot or installing new keys will be possible that doesn’t mean it won’t be very painful. In fact Fedora is currently considering purchasing a $99 Microsoft signed key from Verisign to make it easy to install Fedora on the PCs coming soon. There is no easy or pleasant solution to this dilemma. I understand why they did what they did but I still feel that they’re capitulating to Microsoft’s insanity. I just feel so sorry they felt they had to do this. My next computer I will build myself to ensure my freedom. You should do likewise. Open Source hardware components are preferred whenever possible of course…
- [UNDONE] It would be really awesome to visit Bell Labs. They brought us C, C++, Unix, the transistor, and other truly amazing things. Absolutely brilliant minds worked there. Nowadays it’s more focused on profit than research and its glory days are behind it. Nonetheless the place has an incredible history and still many brilliant minds and I would like to see it first hand. Maybe I’ll even have the privilege of working with someone to hack something interesting up.
- [UNDONE] I really want to couchsurf. I haven’t had the guts/chance to pull this one off yet.
- [UNDONE] I also want to couchsurf in a hosting capacity. It’d be cool to meet various interesting people from around the world. Also since couchsurfing isn’t for the rigid minded among us I’ll get to meet a lot of cool creative people with all sorts of interesting perspectives of the world/stories to tell. For this to happen I’d need my own place first though.
- [UNDONE] I’d like to meet Ryoga Vee. For those of you unfamiliar with him he’s a total badass. He’s one of the few people that isn’t afraid to be himself however wild that may be. I don’t even know how to describe him. Look him up if you want to. He does parkour and freerunning. He’s not the best at that by any means but reasonably good. He is a mixed martial artist and a member of the Gentlemens Fight Club a club consisting mostly of programmers who feel the need to beat the living tar out of each other after spouting C++ all day long. Worked as a video game programmer. Works for Google now, does some sort of database engineering related stuff. Other wild stuff I can’t even describe. Again look him up. He’s in Sunnyvale and since I’ll be approaching San Francisco from the southern half of the pincer around SF bay that so that should be on my way. This one thus has a very high chance of happening. It’d by really awesome to meet Ryoga, maybe hack some code up, and perhaps even walk a leg of the walk together. One of the few people that reminds me theres hope for the world. If I can meet him I’d be nothing short of psyched.
- [UNDONE] Levi Meeuwenberg is an incredibly awesome individual. I don’t even know what I’d say to him if I were to meet him in person. Also since he’s in Los Angeles I don’t know how likely this is to happen. All I can say is that he is an inspiration to fellow dropouts and the human race in general. I’d go and rant some more on his great deeds but I’ve already done so here.
- [UNDONE] I want to visit Foster City. Why? Well to those of you who weren’t lazy and read the above link the aforementioned hot teaching assistant that I asked out is from there. She’s currently also in NYC and when she gets out of university I don’t know if she’ll return there. Regardless because she’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and for reasons I can’t fully explain to myself let alone you I’m fascinated by the place that produced her. Foster City is essentially on my way and will only be a small detour to see it.
- [UNDONE] On the big walk I want to walk barefoot for a week. Ideally but not necessarily contiguously. But for at least a week in total. I personally find walking barefoot to be one of the most amazing feelings ever, much better than most footwear which honestly does more harm than good. Most shoes politely put mess with my foot in a bad way and the problem travels up from there. Let’s not even get into the fact that they squeeze your foot, leave your toes no wiggle room,etc. That at least you could get used to. Improperly designed structure that opposes your foot’s natural structure you can’t. Sneakers are scarcely better. A lot of sneakers including running shoes also don’t mix well with me either though after a lot of searching I can usually come across what works. Flat feet and the issues resulting therefrom aren’t fun but then I likely wouldn’t have them if I didn’t grow up in a culture that forces us into footwear especially at a too early age and was allowed to walk on natural terrain for the proper development of my arches. Either that or if the problem had been diagnosed early enough… But then again my podiatrist agrees full force with my previous point. Now to stop my problem from worsening I’m stuck in custom sneakers with custom orthotics therein. Good stuff right? Frankly regardless of flatfootedness barefoot walking is generally healthier and more natural. The only reason I didn’t do it long before was fear of stepping onto a broken beer bottle, HIV laced hypodermic needle, or <insert sharp/infected object here>. Due to people having no respect for their urban or natural environment we must all suffer. I just hope I can find enough places where it’s still safe to walk barefoot. For me this is partly about getting back to nature and partly activism to raise awareness and promote action. If I do my job right hopefully someone will show both themselves and others true respect and show up at that wedding barefoot.
- [POSSIBLY MISSED OPPORTUNITY] I want to Occupy Wall Street. For at least 5 days. I don’t know if their’s is the most effective method per se but it’s definitely a good one. And frankly anything that involves getting up off the couch and doing something is better than nothing. This November 2011 as this item is being written to the list I will sleep the first half of the month on the floor and take it outside for the second half. The multiday barrier will fall. Furthermore what better way to take it outside than to take it to Wall Street and help out a cause I believe in. Occupy Wall Street will prevail in spite of police brutality of various forms, in spite of thieves and ex-cons trying to take advantage, and in spite of no specific demands. Frankly the latter is where people think it will fail. I think otherwise. The issue is that they’re dealing with a system so corrupt, so twisted, and so diseased frankly even the brightest of us don’t immediately know where to begin fixing it. This must and will be dealt with eventually but right now is the coming out phase where people say I’m a victim and cast the shame off themselves and on the victimizer where it belongs while their ranks swell. Then they make things right. The hardest times are yet to come I want to do my part to help. At the time Occupy started I was getting a hemangioma pulled from the bottom back of my left quad. I’m getting better now and it’s time to act. UPDATE: Since Bloomberg decided to attack the encampment at Zuccotti Park. I’m not sure where the Occupiers have regrouped. Perhaps they may be split into several camps which unfortunately means that the polices divide and conquer technique has made headway. Further complicating things are that in spite of sleeping on the floor for essentially the first half of the month which has helped I still haven’t managed to last a complete night outside. Nonetheless I will do what I can to help. FURTHER UPDATE: I joined in to an extent. Read about my involvement and my thoughts both positive and negative here.
- [DONE] Experience the legendary kindness from strangers I keep hearing about. Here’s a recap of the expedition where I really started feeling it. It was my most awesome expedition to date. I hope to soon break that record.
- [UNDONE] As a proud Debian user I’d like to meet Ian Murdock the man who started it all. He works for Sun Microsystems and may very well be in the Silicon Valley area.
- [DONE] To those of you who have been following this for any particular reason I must have mentioned engineer and coast to coast walker Matt Green and his awesome technique for scoring both camping spots and couch surfing alike at least ten times. After his big walk he is back in NYC and is now attempting to walk every single street in NYC and explore NYC as few have. Even I myself for all of NYC I’ve seen have already been outclassed by him. He’s currently still a nomad of no fixed address and staying with friends and or cool people he meets on his expeditions. He’s actually already walked a few blocks from where I live though he has yet to walk my block. It would be cool to meet with him and perhaps host him in a couch surfing capacity. Another interesting project that may be cool to work on is a push cart to carry my gear. That’s how he did it. My back is not very strong and frankly that may be the only way I can do this. I’m not stupid but I don’t immediately see a way to convert a stroller into a push cart like he did. It’s not rocket science but clearly having an engineer by my side for this while overkill would be cool.
- [UNDONE] Another coast to coast walker currently in NYC is a certain Phil Sigler currently working as a sociology professor at the College Of Staten Island. One of the world’s many unsung heroes it’s hard to even find documentation of his great deeds. Hell even if you look him up you won’t find mention of this unless you already know what to look for. As for how I myself learned of him that is something I will have to keep largely in the dark for both personal reasons and to respect the privacy of others. The only thing I can say is that it was from a colleague of his in the sociology department. Another goal of his that he’s working on is to visit every college campus in America. He’s I think writing a book called “College: A Good Place For Your Children?”. Seriously you have got to love a guy with healthy skepticism on the subject in this period of mindless conformity. Dunno how that project of his is going. He also wrote a book about his walk but sadly few have heard of it. It saddens me of how amazing people these days get no respect whatsoever. Hell take this blog for example, it gets very little traffic. Blogs that are about literally nothing on the other hand…
- [DONE] I wanted to interview and become friends with coast to coast walker Nate Damm. I was nervous when I tried to get in contact with him but somehow I managed to do it. If you want to read the interview go here.
- [UNDONE] I want to see Factor e Farm in Cameron, Missouri. For those of you who don’t know it is the test site and the first of the deployment sites for one of the most amazing engineering projects ever conceived. This is literally one of the top ten most important projects trying to save the world. It all started with a man named Marcin Jakubowski. He aced Princeton University. He got his PhD in physics from the University Of Wisconsin. However as he finished that up he felt disappointed about the disconnect between modern science and real world problems. He was inspired by the power of technology to make our lives better. Yet he was also saddened by the fact that in spite of the considerable production capacity of the technology at our disposal people were still starving and that where we once found lush forests now lie wastelands. Something didn’t add up. He wanted to find out what it was and do something about it. Thus in 2003 the Open Source Ecology organization and was born alongside their current project the Global Village Construction Set. In their own words the point of GVCS was to create a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of various industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts. All of the blueprints are highly detailed and open source(that’s right sports fans it’s not just software anymore). So that GVCS isn’t thought another idealistic pipe dream they are all carefully designed to match or exceed the performance of their commercial counterparts at an equal or lower cost. Other things to mention are that the point that these devices are built mostly if not fully from recycled materials. And that they are meant to be easily self replicating. All in all this description barely does it any justice. Look up OSE and GVCS. They are very literally on the verge of coming up with solutions to many of the world’s most critical problems. Beyond badass.