“And,when you want to truely see the world, all the world conspires in helping you achieve it.”

Archive for June 2012

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Captain, who is driving the ship, Microsoft?

I want a boat that drinks 6, eats 4, and sleeps 2. I got a cruise ship instead that drinks,eats and sleeps 3,200. I agree with Joseph Conrad: There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea. 

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My Attitude Is Still  Getting Me Altitude!

In 1971 Schlitz Beer commercial‘s on my B&W TV depicted adventurous men diving for gold, sailing the 7 seas.

 “Go for the gusto! ... you only go around  once in life” 

Note to self: The earth school kills all of its students. Life is like rowing out to sea in a boat that has a hole in the bottom. Have as  much joy and fun and fulfillment- because success without fulfillment is   failure.   Yet doing the right thing at the wrong time equals pain- I would recommend that everyone who wanted to travel, do it immediately. Sooner rather than later. Gather no moss.

The  digital convergence and celestial jukeboxes (Cell Phones, TV's, Computer Screens)  are the sound track and sound bytes of our lives- But the content is  somebody elses point of view. What is deeply personal is universal yet what  gives our lives meaning and gravitas is our own Autobiography.  Telling our own story is not something that we’re taught how to do. If we learn how to mine our own experience, we can find answers to the great questions of life.

The universe keeps a perfect set of books.

We are uinique just like everybody else- There is above all, the uniqueness of our own story. That’s what gives us the sense of inhabiting our own lives. I think that the majority of people never get inside their own lives. That is the difference between living mythically ( The American Dream)  and living autobiographically (The  YOUniverse) where your wishbone becomes your backbone. "That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best – make it all up – but make it up so truly that later it will happen" Ernest Hemingway

We are all living holograms, and can find answers to the deep questions of life simply by telling our own stories.  Ourlives are shaped — and occasionally misshaped — by the stories we tell about ourselves. 

The Autobiographical Philosophy is the love of telling your own story! I have been using my travels  as as a kind of mirror, a hologram of the age I am living in. The American psyche has always been based on glorifying the individual, but for the past few years it's been more about finding a community of people I belong with, discovering  my  connections with all life—human or otherwise!

I'm not a Starfleet commander, or T. J. Hooker. I don't live on Starship NCC-170...  or own a phaser. I don't know anybody named Bones, Sulu, or Spock, but I am boldly going nowhere fast.

 You are Here. Travel with me:

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Despite  budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel is still on 
There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.

Going out on the open water is  the infinity of hope, the preview of life's coming attractions where you have final cut in your own movie.  You can lose yourself in the ocean's food for thought. Its  menu is the meal,  and itineraries are full of promises. It gives you a  sense of destination and the energy to get started again.

Disney Magic 
Call it faith!  A passion for the possible. I am full of it, and shooting from the hip that is to say,   having an adventure is something more but nothing less than bad planning.  It's (F)unemployment. Never heard of funemployment? It's the person who quits his job or takes advantage of being out of a "job" to have the time of their life. Instead of punching a clock, you head for the beach. In my case, the high seas. 

With Sarah E Kennedy
I'm not a sailor . Maybe a sailor  with a small s. Living on a ship,  however, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria. It's not real life but an alibi. It  is like going out of your mind everyday- in order to come to your senses; and a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. 

After 11 ships, yes eleven, I no longer want to cast doubt on perfection-America.  There's nothing I wouldn't do for my country , and there's nothing it  wouldn't do for me. And that's the way we go through life - doing nothing for each other.o

@Sea-Emperor's New Suit (Disney Wonder Alaska/Mexico 2011)

The Committee to Ascribe a Naval Origin to Everything Is Now In Session. Give me a wide berth, I’m a loose cannon and three sheets to the wind. Anchors aweigh.

Everything  you can imagine is real. Picasso said it, Walt Disney believed it and I have lived it. Yet Walt's Power of NEW is messing with my Power of NOW. "You got your peanut butter in my chocolate! Walt"

I'm Onboard,with the face that launched a thousand dreams and 3 cruise ships, I am suited and booted for formal night onboard the Disney Wonder.

Atlantic Crossing (Costa Atlantica 2010)

With Truddie Reif

Son Of A Beach ( Celebrity Soltice 2009)
In 2009 First Month @Sea Dreaming With Eyes Wide Open
in the The Adriatic Sea
Let The Orinoco Flow-Santorini"Turn it up...Adieu, ooh." Enya

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There are over a 100 museums in New York, and I didn't have to visit one this afternoon. The sidewalk is not my runway, the world is not my canvas, but Manhattan's  street  space  is my gallery without walls.

Matisse channeling Picasso by way of Hello Kitty is the best way to describe pop artist, Britto. He's everywhere in South Florida, and brings a little Miami sunshine to midtown Manhattan today.

It's about optimism, love and hope and it inspires  all of us to creatively play, imagine and enjoy  what is.

With Sarah Kennedy
What could be more basic than to wish that every one  have a healthier and happier life.Art without the angst or the drama---smiling kittens, dancing clowns, and polka-dot palm trees in peoples homes and peoples lives. No one in the elite art world would say it was "good" but Obrigado! anyway. It's hard to meet a person who doesn't like his workYet, with  increased notoriety comes criticism. EnLighten Up! It's just art people.

The Power of Myth
Onboard the Disney Magic
 with Britto

The myth that REAL artists don’t make money is the wrong myth. Britto has made millions designing "stuff" for corporate America, including Evian, Disney, and Swatch.  Sure the whole creative process takes about 2 minutes, and Britto's  minions of helpers fill in all the outlines that sell for $10's of thousands of dollars. I think of Peter Max, who mass produced the 60's. Optimistic, generous, and naive, that's the German-American Dreamer in a nutshell.Max has more game than Milton Bradley. He isn't the industry standard- He's industrial painting; churning and burning cotton-candy, Art-Nouveau-ish limited editions---the inedible raised to the unspeakable, funk and Junk.The copies are better than the originals. 

“I never know what I'm going to put on the canvas.
 The canvas paints itself. I'm just the middleman.”- Peter Max

 washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. NYC is certainly dusty and  dirty and yet... despite  its traffic, its competition,there is one thing about it -- once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.

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Write? Right! I like writing. I just don't like the paper work. Pulp-free fiction-blogging is literature in a hurry.

Today we are in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Before I started sailing, I didn't even know what street Canada was on. In fact, Canada is like a loft apartment over a really great party. Like: "Keep it down, eh?"

Canadians are nothing more than unarmed Americans with great health care, a nation of people who came from somewhere else. There's a lot of History at Pier 21 in the Halifax port, Canada's version of Ellis Island ,where one million immigrants landed between 1928-1971 on steam ships and ocean liners.
In April, 1912, Halifax was the hub of rescue operations for the Titanic. (Great movie: Spoiler alert: A lot of people die at the end).

Because you can't spell mansLaughter without laughter.. What do you get if you cross the Atlantic Ocean with the Titanic? About halfway! On the Titanic the captain calls a meeting of his officers: 'I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?' 'The good news', replies an officer. 'We'll get eleven Oscars.'

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The whole object of traveling  is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.

My mind keeps repeating this simple mantra: New York City is awesome! So awesome that the city of hyperbole and superlatives has 98 names. (see below).

I, on the other hand, am not better than New York. I am, however better than I used to be. After all, doing things right the first time is an obscenity. Growing old isn't optional, growing up is.

As a  student living in New York City, if your food comfort zones  ain’t broke, don’t just break them, break it before someone else does. There were restaurants of every shape, size smell and color, and that was what I was- a connoisseur in starvation. I  wasn't  a gourmet chef but I was a gourmet eater. This was my one act of rebellion- eating what I wanted, not what was on the menu.

Putting the fun in dysFUNctional meals, We had two staples growing up--- Steak and Potatoes, and Spaghetti and Meat Balls. Once a month we would eat liver and bacon. No Chicken. and absolutely no fish.  It was like living in a mansion but only using one room.  Oh yea- We always had hamburgers and hot dogs- My baloney had a hundred names.

My Mom, like  the Nazi's ,was only "following orders", from S.A.D. (the Standard American Diet) and  my Dad, who ate chicken every day in the military and refused to have it served on our plates. He actually thought he was doing us a favor. I got news for you Dad- It all tastes like chicken! Anyway, I don't eat much meat these days anyway. I've always been a vegetarian wanna be.

In my 20's, I studied German, but  I didn't speak it or French or Spanish or Japanese yet--But I did  venture out to eat a lot of Guacamole, Sushi and spent quite a lot of time in the cheese aisles at Balducci's. I even ate mangoes and soy beans, tofu and other banned items from our household menu.

When you meet someone who says “I’m really just a meat and potatoes guy,” he’s really telling you that he’s most comfortable when things are the way they’ve always been. That’s not a bad thing, unless you’re a change agent looking to shake things up. The way we eat is the way we think...Show me someone who’s experimenting with Mexican  cuisine this year (after mastering Japanese last year) and I’ll show you someone who is a risk taker and not afraid to try new things in other aspects of his/her life.

For all my culinary short comings, when I was a kid  my mom  always said  that happiness was the key to life She was right!
CNN verses The Alphabet

 When I went to NYU, however  my Economics Professor William J. Baumol asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. He  told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told him he didn't  understand life.

Once the culture shock  honeymoon period of leaving rural Long Island for the bright lights and big city was over, I made the switch from country bumpkin to city dweller. I was what I pretended to be Urbane. Yet to be truly cultured and have worldly experiences. I couldn't just be a book worm.

In the end, New York was just my roommate, and we simply shared water and electricity. I never felt "at home". I bought the the t shirt  "I love New York".  Love, however, is a verb, you have to do it.  I was driving the bus but falling asleep at the wheel.

Ed Reif (1981) Hair Today.Gone Tomorrow
As I went   through the meat grinder known as college, a four-year round  vacation, Hamburger helper for me was  listening to “Watching the Wheels"  the legendary  1981 single by John Lennon, released posthumously after he was shot, in 1980. I wanted to be more care free and laid back, and I"just had to let it go" and get out of Gotham City.

You don't quit cities, you don't quit jobs-you quit people.

Rude, pushy, snobby, and always in a rush Hell was other New Yorkers; their National Anthem, Frank Sinatra’s  “I Did It My Way. Rudeness was a fashion statement.

 In fact, I really didn’t see New Yorkers as they were, I saw them as I was- rude, pushy, snobby, and always in a rush.

Unique New York-

1. America's Leading Tourist Resort
2. America's Mecca 
3. Father Knickerbocker (referring to the type of trousers worn by the early Dutch settlers)
4. Gotham (name given to New York City by Washington Irving in the Salmagundi Papers, 1807) 
5. The Bablyonian Bedlam (allusion to the confusion of tongues at Babel, described in Genesis XI) 
6. The Bagdad of the Subway
7. The Bagdad on the Hudson 
8. The Banking Center of the World 
9. The Big Apple 
10. The Big Burg 
11. The Big City 
12. The Big Town 
13. The Biggest Gateway to Immigrants 
14. The Burg 
15. The Business Capital of the Nation 
16. The Business Capital of the World 
17. The Capital of Finance 
18. The Capital of the World
19. The Center of the World (Trygve Lie, first United Nations general secretary, on Sept. 7, 1962) 
20. The City 
21. The City at the Crossroads of High Diplomacy 
22. The City of Cities (book by Hulbert Foother) 23. The City of Friendly People
24. The City of Golden Dreams
25. The City of Islands (the borough of Manhattan and numerous other small islands within the city limits) 
26. The City of Light 
27. The City of Orchestras (music center and 'Tin Pan Alley") 
28. The City of Skyscrapers (the tallest building in the world; the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, 60 Wall Tower, etc.) 
29. The City of Superlatives 
30. The City of the World
31. The City of Towers 
32. The City that Belongs to the World
33. The City that Never Sleeps 
34. The City with Everything 
35. The Cleanest Big City in the World 36. The Coliseum City
37. The Commercial Capital of America 38. The Commercial Emporium 
39. The Corporate Capital of America 40. The Crossroads of the World
41. The Cuisine Capital of the World 
42. The Cultural Capital of America 
43. The Cultural Center of the Nation 
44. The Cultural City 
45. The Empire City
46. The Entertainment Capital of the World 
47. The Fashion Capital of the World 48. The Fear City 
49. The Financial Capital of the World 
50. The Financial Hub
51. The First City of the World (the most populated city in the United States, approximately 8 million) 52. The Friendly City 
53. The Frog and Toe 
54. The Front Office of American Business
55. The Fun City 
56. The Fun City on the Hudson 
57. The Greatest All-Year Round Vacation City 
58. The Greatest Industrial Center in the World 
59. The Headquarters of World Banking 
60. The Hong Kong of the Hudson 
61. The Host of the World 
62. The Hub City of the World
63. The Hub of Transport 
64. The Information City
65. The Land of Surprising Contrasts
66. The Mecca for Young Adults 
67. The Media City 
68. The Melting Pot (drama by Israel Zangwill, 1908) 
69. The Metropolis 
70. The Metropolis of a Continent 
71. The Metropolis of America 
72. The Metropolitan City 
73. The Mighty Manhattan 
74. The Modern Gomorrah (one of the cities if the plains destroyed by fire and bromstone because of wickedness, mentioned in the Old Testament) 
75. The Money Town 76. The Most Colorful Exciting City in the World 
77. The Movie-Making City 
78. The Nation's First City 
79. The Nation's Greatest City 
80. The Nation's Largest Communications Center 
81. The Nation's Largest Port 
82. The Port of Many Ports 
83. The Printing Capital of the World 
84. The Restaurant City 
85. The Science City 
86. The Seat of Empire (named in 1784 by George Washington) 
87. The Super City
88. The University of Telephony 
89. The Vacation City 
90. The Wonder City 91. The Wonder City of the World 92. The Wonderful Town 
93. The World Capital of Fashion 
94. The World's Capital City 95. The World's Fair City 
96. The World's Financial Capital 97. The World's Metropolis 
98. The World's Most Exciting All Year Round Vacation Center

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Travelling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, I wanna  love you, but I have to go; this is just the way it is.
Welcome to Sweden, with  a reputation for extreme winters, the safest cars on Earth.(see my SAAB story) and ABBA.  I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to the Swedes than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is...starting with a bike tour.

Stockholm has bike paths everywhere :. It's easy to get around the islands that make up the city. As long as I am riding a bike, I know I am the luckiest guy in the world.

Yet, the Swedes can't compete with their brethren across the Straight-Copenhagen's daily cycling masses. If Paris is the City of Lights, then Copenhagen is the City of Cycles.There are 1.7 million people  there and 1.7 million bicycles.When it take 15 minutes to find your bike at the train station, you know you are in Denmark. (In Amsterdam too, Cyclists are everywhere--and you are more likely to get hit by one than a car as everybody has a bicycle).  Nevertheless, there's bikes everywhere in Stockholm too, and riding is a breeze.

Ed Reif 2.0 The Start Up-seeking out change and new experiences.

Sockholm  was my  port of call for Summers 2009 and 2010, but I  stayed  for three months in 96; with the usual run of the mill  obstacles, the fatigue, the ambiguity, and even the danger of being too enthusiastic. I learned a lot of Finnish jokes too  like the Finnish man loved his wife so much he almost told her.

Serendipity brought me to an Engelska/English  bookstore  where I  bought (browsing not allowed like at Barnes and Noble) , the most important "geek" book of the info revolution, Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital.  This treatise on  bits verses atoms, and access and mobility to free  content  was a primer on how the worlds of interaction, entertainment and information would eventually merge.The paradox of his  book or any book nowadays, is that its digital version is available online  because  "Digital books never go out of print".

 Boom! The napsterization of cutting out the middleman, the tivoization time shifting of on-demand entertainment , plus the CNN effect, the 24 hour news cycle were all emerging, and here was The Oracle, Visionary and Digital Pathfinder Negronponte, predicting that Computing is not about computers anymore. It is about living. In fact,  I took his "Daily Me" concept of a virtual daily newspaper customized for an individual's tastes and created this  blog based on things I would like to read, where "everyone is my neighbor" Hence the Title: Hotel @nyware. 

Being Digital,  where the world is flat and decentralized, making things bigger and smaller at the same time was the future, and the future was already here. It just wasn't evenly distributed yet.This celestial coincidence, where the   planets of change line up, would take some time personally for me. The wired/less attitude and life style  hit me big  in 1998, in the USA when I  started teaching visual literacy  using  the internet to get students engaged and connected, away solely from "space" (the printed page) to "time" (Web-based timeline and interactive multimedia). In fact, it has led me to believe that good education is about good entertainment.

The three reasons why I became a teacher--- June, July and August- freed me up to do gigs. First,  at Creative Planet, where I consulted on production tools for the movie industry, where  I was introduced by UCLA and USC interns  to  free downloads courtesy of  Nutella, Limewire and Napster. I also made  Google my default search engine! More than that,  I was lucky enough to get parts as an Extra in  film and TV and a union  SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card  playing an Attorney in a horror movie. I was amazed how you could shoot and edit a movie on location using a MAC and  Final Cut, then send "The Dailys" remotely using the magic of wireless, e mail, and for larger files, FTP sites to the studio.

In my  "At Sea"  world of immersion,  authorship
 is both  the transmission of experience, and  the
 construction of utterly personal experiences.
Being Digital, along with Wired Magazine, that Nicholas co-founded, was to become  my  Web 2.0 Rosetta Stone for interpeting exactly what we all were and still are  experiencing-that there is no such thing as a bad address when using the Internet- Face Book, Twitter, Skype and Blogger. They  shatter time and space, and NOW  it all really  happens in real time.

I got a first hand account of "the power of one" and the "electronic word of mouth"  back in 2010, as a Citizen journalists, when Night Line and Good Morning America picked up my YouTube videos, when my ship the Carnival Splendor was dead in the water for 4 days. I wasn't watching TV:TV was watching me!

Nicholas glibly pointed out "The true value of a network is less about information and more about community. The information superhighway... is creating a totally new, global social fabric."   I was doing my part for "Did you hear about" Journalism.

Yet the Summer of 1996, my  analog eyes didn't quite see our digital world. In a way, I lived the life I recently described  last year in 2011 when visiting Mynmar aka Burma, as uninitiated and unplugged- setting  life unintentionally  to airplane mode. 

It was still  brick and mortar for me. where ramen noodles were a dish of effortless purity, and I had to resign myself to "Black work" as a dog walker and digging ditches to take care of my  extended vacation. Stockholm wasn't solving my  digital "problems', it was subsidizing them. The epiphanies would have to wait.

Negronponte was instrumental in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program. Ironically I  was one of his "digital homeless". I didn't even have a computer, In fact, I had  access to  free ISDN internet bandwidth  at  Stockholm University's library and frequently  took advantage of  their  "user friendly" desktop PC's. 

Furthermore, let me say,  Tack så mycket Stockholm! for introducing me to  one of the most significant  applications to my digital life, e mail. I credit a random student who helped me sign up for my free hotmail account, which I still am using today.

In a very practical way, it was the act of rebirth. I delt with completely new situations; the days passed more slowly, and most of the time, I didn't even understand the language the people spoke.It actually made me more accessible to others, because they helped me out in difficult situations. Nobody  remains quite what they are when they recognizes themselves.

The idea occurred to me when I was there. At first it was only a vague idea, a question looming — what should I do? — with an answer taking shape: nothing.

I didn't consider myself happy or unhappy. I just knew there was something OUT THERE that I needed to get to and it never seemed to be where I was at any particular moment. 

Doing nothing  always carries with it the sense of violation, of sacrilege.It´s evil, dangerous, and  subversive, at least for we Americans. It´s a poor workman who blames his tool, and doing nothing is a powerful one. It can give you your best "material".

The time I enjoyed wasting in Sweden wasn´t wasted time. I made some great friends. I read a book that changed the way I thought about the world as I knew it.  I got a free  e mail account.

 I got wired!

A Footnote to the email account.

 I had the chance to drive up from Los Angeles  to Silicon Valley in 1997, and visit my e mail account!
 My virtual address that I still "reside" at to date. 
Out of curiosity, to my suprise, the offices of hotmail were in a strip mall, not some huge warehouse full of the UNIVAC tubes of 1950's. Nothing but towers of computers, were stacked up to the ceiling, as I pressed my nose up against the store front glasss and looked in at awe of the tiny space me along with hundreds of thousand other users e mail accounts "lived" at. Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, were out of town, according to a UPS guy delivering stuff next store.

This web-based e mail service was sold  to Microsoft for $4million 2 years later. an amazing thing considering how small in terms of physical space these microcomputers actually took up.  It all makes sense to me  now- If we were to place a value of a lost lap top, not in terms of atoms $600 price tag at Best Buy,  but with bits(data) I would place a $1 million value on my own personal content. This is my own example of bits verses atoms, Nicholas talked about way back in 1996.  It has gotten to the point where I dont care as much about losing the device-the cell phone, the lap top, the mp3 player- as losing just the data!  the address book, the writings, the songs...That's why storing stuff on the server side, in the cloud gives peace of mind. and the shift from the physical to the digital..