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Archive for the ‘self education / research’ Category.

Dear Earth


Dear Earth,

We, the people of the USA, are finally getting our shit together. We’re actually practicing democracy by taking direct responsibility for ourselves.

We’ve always been in power here but have inappropriately allowed our beliefs and behaviors to be determined by financial syndicates, military industrial complexes, fanatical religious bigots, schlock manufacturers, elitist empire builders and spooky conspirators. Sorry about that.

Fortunately it looks like we’re learning how to pay attention, be grateful for basic things and take care of each other. We are striving to feel, think and act not only in our own best interest, but in the collective best interest of all life on this shared and finite planet.

Thanks for your patience and please standby.


Liebe Erde,

Wir, das Volk der USA, sind endlich unsere Scheißezusammen. Wir sind tatsächlich funktionierende Demokratiedurch die direkte Verantwortung für uns.

Wir haben immer an der Macht hier waren, aber unangemessenkonnten unsere Einstellungen und Verhaltensweisen, die vonFinanz-Syndikate, militärisch-industriellen Komplexe,fanatische religiöse Eiferer, schlock Hersteller, elitäre ReichBauherren und spooky Verschwörer gefahren werden. Tut mir leid.

Zum Glück ist es wie wir lernen, wie darauf zu achten, sieht,dankbar sein für grundlegende Dinge und kümmern uns umeinander. Wir sind bestrebt, fühlen, denken und nicht nur inunserem eigenen Interesse, sondern im kollektiven Interesse aller Leben auf diesem gemeinsamen und endlichen Planetenhandeln.

Vielen Dank für Ihre Geduld und bitte Standby-Modus.


Chère terre,

Nous, les gens des états unis d’Amérique, ont finalement réglé nos emmerdes. Nous pratiquons la démocratie en assumant directement nos responsabilités.

Nous avons toujours eu le pouvoir mais nous avons laissé nos comportements et réactions être guidées de façon inappropriée par les syndicats financiers, les complexes militaires industriels, les bigots religieux fanatiques, des bâtisseurs d’empire élitistes des commerciaux pas très clairs et des conspirateurs sinistres. Désolant.

Heureusement, on dirait que nous apprenons à faire attention, à respecter les choses basiques et à prendre soin des autres. Nous ressentons constamment, pensons et agissons pas seulement à nos fins personnelles, mais dans le meilleur intérêt collectif de toute vie sur cette planette partagée et limitée.

thanks for you patience and please standby

Translations by Kai Schwarz and Laurence Schroeder

Functional sculpture

In preparation for the epic Year of the Rabbit New Year Party on February 5th,  Joe Cissel, Liz Paladino and I started construction of the combination skating ring (k) / ice diving stage in the form of a yin yang symbol, which is approximately 70 feet in circumference. In the next day or two, we’ll be loading up the electric chainsaw with olive oil to open the holes and inscribe the borders. We decided to place it a little closer to shore than originally planned so that the water will be only about 5 feet deep, making an easier exit for the ice divers. We also discussed the feasibility of making the entire disk free spinning.

Yo Mr President!

“We do big things. From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.”

… and don’t forget a heaping helping of genocide on our own frontiers and the overthrow of a slew of democratically elected governments where there’s stuff we want, like Haiti, Iran, Congo… Do we really need to “win the future”? Winning is fine for games like chess, soccer and Wii but it doesn’t really scale up to the global, we’re just too interconnected.

I came out of class late last night, and the rhetoric of returning America to her former dominance was all I heard. Phawg!

How to download Wikileaks Insurance

DISCLAIMER and WARNING – I was arrested in March of 2001 for protesting the impending Iraq war. Subsequently, I found out that I have an FBI record that is “secret”. The reason I know this is a long story, I’m sure I’ve blogged about it somewhere. The point is that I am already a “bad guy” as far as the government is concerned, so downloading “Wikileaks Insurance” and giving instructions on how to do it isn’t going to get me into any more trouble than I already am in. YOU on the other hand, might not want to call attention to yourself.

I’m OSX based or Macintosh. For Windows computers, there area few variations.

The insurance file is large, and is distributed via the BitTorrent protocol. Basically, the protocol describes how to break big files into many smaller chunks, and how to reassemble these chunks. If many computers are sending chunks of a file to your computer at the same time, your computer can reconstruct the original file quickly. Torrents have gotten a bad rap because of the controversy over thePirateBay.com, an archive of torrent files, some of which are for copyrighted material, like blockbuster movies, bestselling books and popular CDs. There is nothing inherently illegal about torrents though, so don’t feel guilty about using this amazing technology. For example, Fxphd.com offers courses on many aspects of motion graphics and special effects for movies, and they distribute their large tutorial files as torrents.

I like the open source torrent program Transmission, (http://www.transmissionbt.com/). Click “Download Now” to start the process, open the .dmg, and move Transmission to your applications folder.

Locate and open the torrent for Insurance. I went to The Pirate Bay. Be sure to click on “Download this torrent” and NOT the green candy-like button that says “Download”

Once the torrent is downloaded, start up Transmission and either drag the torrent file to Transmission or from Transmission “File > Open Torrent” and navigate to the “insurance.aes256″ torrent, probably in your “Downloads” folder A dialog box will open with the Torrent, click “Add”. Sit back and wait for the file to be reconstructed. If there are enough seeders, it should happen pretty fast.

Perform a checksum to verify that you’ve got the right file. I’ve already done this and found it to be correct, but it’s a good idea to verify for yourself. According to Wikipedia (not affiliated with Wikileaks), the SHA1 checksum for the original file is cce54d3a8af370213d23fcbfe8cddc8619a0734c. Here’s how to make your own SHA1 checksum application.

Keep Transmission running and stay connected to the internets to help others get the file.

There’s no telling what’s in the insurance file. It could be unabridged Afghan war documents or something else entirely. I’m down with the Wikileaks premise and if it makes sense to you too, then having this file is a demonstration of solidarity.

Live Fully, Pay Attention, Power Down

Play movie for computer, phone or youtube

An ALM inspired public service message about giving up jet travel, whipped up in response to a regional fund raising effort that seemed inherently contradictory. The more I learned the more I felt compelled to speak out. The catalytic event was the release of a video by musicians May Erlewine and Seth Bernard on their kickstarter site.

Several aspects of their project appear problematic, but I’ve focused on the environmental impact. I’m down with Awakening the Dreamer, a movement to realize a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet. These three outcomes are inherently linked, achieving one at the expense of the other two is no achievement at all.

There are certainly bigger fish to fry, why critique local activists and artists? Who elected Dan Kelly the arbiter of worthiness?

Folks disagree on how dire our environmental situation is, but it’s pretty clear we’ve got to make a change. Transparency and open communication are critical to deciding what that change should be. If we artists and activists can’t figure out how to do transparency and communication within our extended local tribe, how can we expect anyone to figure it out?

I don’t know many of the principle actors personally, but I am aware of their worthy efforts in the past. For my part, I just spent the last couple of years searching for artifacts of future sustainable civilizations. Having sailed a 16 foot catamaran 600 miles Around Lake Michigan, I’ve got some unique information to share especially with regards to travel.

I’ll be posting on youtube after a bit more polish.


I tested my PSA yesterday – me doing a talking head with ALM b-roll. It’s got potential. This morning I simplified the narration.

I am Dan Kelly

In 2008 I was invited to sail around the Hawaiian islands and make a movie about sustainability. Getting to Hawaii usually means flying – and jet flight generates lots of carbon. Documenting low impact lifestyles while having a big impact myself – that didn’t make sense. So I decided to stay home and make the movie right here, in Michigan.

sync sound
opening of ALM

In fact, I haven’t flown on a jet since. This summer I visited my brother for a trip down the San Juan river in Utah, a round trip of over 4000 miles, and it was Amtrak and cars the whole way.

river trip montage, floating

Flying on jets is probably the most environmentally damaging American behavior. If we’re concerned about climate change then jets should be the first thing we give up.

video of “on jets” calculation

I love to travel – adventure is my middle name. There’s so much to learn from other people and cultures. Maybe we can even help the folks we visit.

whoa! shots, that suckers coming right at me
http://ondesire.com/story/09-09-28_ritch_branstrom/01.html, carol

But trying to do good deeds by flying to far away places seems an obvious contradiction. We don’t need jets to have adventures or be of service. Wondrous discoveries await within 200, 20 or even 2 miles of our front door. Plenty of people need love and support in our own home towns.

(montage of more sailing, arriving on beaches, characters, town signs)

We are all responsible for each other, for our common survival. The choices we make now determine what will happen to us and to our extended family on earth. Jet travel is not a responsible choice, it messes up the global life support system we all depend on.

earth animation

let’s live fully, pay attention and power down

black with text, then “resources”


http://www.ondesire.com/ search for “jets”

Public Service Announcement

I’ve been away from ondesire.com for a couple of months, reconstructing my land based life and recovering from an NYC exit. Let’s return now to the Around Lake Michigan archives for further extraction and posting. I’m starting with a PSA exploring the ills of jet travel. ALM is a search for what’s useful, the artifacts of future sustainable civilizations. Rather than look at what is wrong and complain, ALM explores what might be right, what seems to work. Explaining why something works may require contrasting it with what doesn’t.

There’s a local effort underway to fund extensive jet travel, ostensibly for good works on the other side of the earth. Certainly the organizers mean well, but on the balance they’ll probably do way more harm than good. Having recently sailed hundreds of miles in an open catamaran, I’m in a unique position to comment, to offer some perspective on travel choices. Here’s a first draft of my narration.

Two years ago I was invited to sail around the islands of Hawaii and make a movie about sustainability. Getting to Hawaii usually means flying on a jet plane – and that’s a huge carbon footprint. Talking about the low impact lifestyle while having a big impact myself – that didn’t make sense. So I decided instead to stay home and make my movie right here, in Michigan. In fact, I decided to give up jet flight in general. This summer I visited my brother for a trip down the San Juan river in Utah, and it was Amtrak and cars the whole way.

Flying on jets is just about the biggest environmental impact we can have as Americans. Trying to do good deeds by flying to far away places is usually a contradiction. Do the ends justify the means?

I love to travel – adventure is my middle name. There’s so much to learn from other people and cultures. Maybe we can even help the folks we visit.

We don’t need to fly in jets to have adventures or be of service. Wondrous discoveries await within 200, 20 or 2 miles of our front door. There are plenty of people who need love and support in our own home towns.

If we want to help people in China or Africa, we can send checks to reputable organizations already there. If we want to make new friends on the other side of the earth, we can reach out through social networks, telephones and… wait for it… posted letters.

If we traveled around the world without taking a single jet, we would have a richer and more immediate experience, make more friends, have many more adventures and probably be a lot smarter after.

We are all responsible for each other, for our common survival. The choices we make determine what will happen to us and to our extended global family. Jet travel is not a responsible choice, it messes up the global life support system we all depend on.

live fully, go slow, power down

Day 5 – Ready to go for real

Day 5 was the second and for real launch. June 1st was the official day of getting Hello World into the Big Lake and starting to sail but the truth was we weren’t ready. A few days of puttering around in Bear Lake and Beulah and then 6.5 hours organizing and prepping on Arcadia beach got us there. This short 3:33 segment gives a taste of Day 5 and Day 6.

10-06-05 Ready to go for real, Arcadia to north of Portage Lake, Michigan (computer, phone)

Musings in the morning

With ALM, I have three basic flows for telling the story – raw video, motion graphics and posts (text). Though I wasn’t as faithful with imaging everything, I was fairly thorough in my writing. I captured details that I certainly would have been forgotten now. The posts are ready made narrative. It’s another voice, a different Dan, another processing perspective.

What stories do I want to tell, what is the story? Are details like my struggle with Wordbooker worth telling? This geeky stuff might be trivia, but if ALM is about learning how to do a project, how to be low impact and effective, if it’s about an open source approach then these details could be the components of a future epiphany.

The details I choose to include reveal my opinion of what matters. What’s most important and what’s next most important? Including the disaster details means I can turn around and talk about what did work…

“The best gear (approach, attitude) is often not mentioned because it’s never part of the problem, it’s never a cause or contributor to trials and tribulations. Rather, good gear is an invisible assumed element of every solution. Here’s my roster of invisible stuff.”

Now we’re into collaborator territory. This could also make me a field testing force to be reckoned with. The question is – is grabbing collaborators part of my main theme(s)?

I can also bring the blog right into the movie as screen capture while narrating.

Tangents aside, there’s an immediate goal here – to make a first pass on the video, to post it. To revitalize the project and find out what it is, who’s on board. Can there be an online following between trips? How does that work?

Another tangent. Recently I saw Dave Hart and we had a great time just hanging out. When I think about philosophy of projects I am reminded of an argument we had about cam chocks for climbing protection, back on the South Manitou boat when he and I weren’t getting along so great. I gave Roger Bonnet’s argument that cam chocks were overly complicated, expensive poser gear. I can’t remember why Dave liked cams – maybe because they were a sort of one size fits all solution that ultimately reduced the amount of metal (and weight) on a rack. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t know about climbing, the basic argument was simplicity vs complication. Both of us felt probably felt like we were arguing for simplicity.

Simplicity will emerge as one of my principles of preparing for and approaching a challenge, but my idea of simplicity has to be clarified, rigorously polished until it’s perfectly obvious.

What this all helps me to understand is that I’m ready to take another whack at the index cards and sort the main themes of the project. It’s a great day, except for this burning pain in my adrenals. But that’s another story.

Day 4 – Adjustments in Arcadia

An easy afternoon on the beach making adjustments to Hello World, mostly the straps and plates that secured the waterproof rifle cases. There’s also insights about yawning.

Behind the scene details were posted on June 6.

10-06-04 Adjustments in Arcadia, Michigan (computer, phone)

What I did with the 2nd half of July

I took advantage of the 2010 expedition’s abrupt end by soaking up the rapture oozing outta Hello World’s home base, the Artist house on Crystal Lake. Truth be told, the spring had sprung so sweetly last May that it was tough to tear myself away and start the trip. Though Hello World’s broken paw was a bummer, the prospect of staying home for the rest of the summer was decidedly excellent.

The end of the expedition wasn’t all sex on the beach, tho. Being back early made me vulnerable to wedding invitations. I loathe weddings generally and ALM was supposed to be my get out of jail free card. Now my nephew and brother-in-law’s weddings were looming, in New Hampshire and California respectively. Shit.

Having a limited supply of nephews, I decided to shag my ass out east. A visit to New Hampshire would put me within striking distance of the four 20 foot galvanized pipes I left on the roof of my alternate crib in Brooklyn, NY.

Heading to wedding in New Hampshire with an iridescent obsidian knappage by Steve in Ogden Dunes, IN.

Weddings - gak!

Family face time, my genius niece with her two main men, Gordon and my famous brother, Jim

Galvanized pipe and AIS Klamps are like Legos for big kids. Originally I had intended to use the pipes to build a fire escape for my 3rd floor apartment and facilitate direct access to the ground floor gardens. Static from the snooty french neighbor on the second floor complicated the design requirements and the 20 footers were no longer practical. The plan was to bring them back to the Artist house and build a passive solar greenhouse informed by Mike Reynold’s Earthship aesthetic.

The transport protocol involved stacking 2″ thick foam blocks on the roof of the Honda Odyssey to supplement it’s wimpy 100 lb capacity roof rack. 5 ratching cargo straps locked the load down with a couple of tee shirts around the leading straps to dampen high speed vibration. Having 1 1/2″ pipes poking 6 ft over the windshield made my POV rather like commanding a tank or missile launcher.

While packing the pipes I realized that I wasn’t excited about returning to the Brooklyn apartment in the fall. After 6 years of living between Brooklyn and Beulah, perhaps it was time to return to Michigan full time.  I let that thought settle in during the 15 hour drive back.

En route, I got a call from Gene, a fellow devotee of Swami Bua, my yoga teacher. Swamiji had died in India from complications of stroke. He was about 120 years old. Here are articles from Hinduism Today (obit) and The New Yorker (2006).

An ~80 year old Swamiji in the 1970s. I was 13 when I first met him in 1976.

A few days back in Beulah and I knew I was finished with NYC.  The Odyssey and I headed for NYC once again – on a mission to extract the last of my gear and wrap up obligations. Mission accomplished on August 1.

I plan to visit the Big Mango every other month for my Taoist check-up and After Effects New York. It feels totally right to be back in Michigan full time – consolidating my resources, building a production alliance, focusing on the local and letting Lake magic flow through me. It’s hard to describe how that works here, you’ve just got to experience it.

What does it mean when this happens?

Somehow the front aluminum pylon is sinking or twisting inside the hull. It might have happened while moored in Chicago’s Monroe Harbor, perhaps from an impact by another boat. Or it could be a sign of some internal problem that is only now showing up, like the pylon coming loose from the bottom of the hull? I did a deck job on both hulls a year ago and sailed 300 miles with no hitches. There are no fractures or cracks anywhere around the deck where the pylon emerges. There’s a ring around the pylon where the deck is now slightly concave. Any experienced Hobie sailors ever seen anything like this before?

Starboard hull outside Starboard hull inside
Port hull outside Port hull inside

Accidental practice

Day 33

Perfection? The kingdom of god is spread upon the earth and man does not see it. Someone to tumble with in this grass would be sweet but as far as solo moments go, pretty near perfect. In tree shadow on sloping grass, facing the water and Hello World tugging on her can. So many other boats, most of them with masts! Behind me the great city yawns and rumbles with AM bustle.

Hello World is so low profile as to be nearly invisible, like a bigger boat that sank. Besides the buzzing and piping of birds, I hear hundreds of masts clanking against thier shackles, the accidental bells of an unplanned devotion. Each sail boat is a place of practice, a temple to the available free energy of wind. Hello World came right into Monroe Harbor under this energy, probably she’s the only boat who did. The rest manuevered to their cans with petrol motors. Out on the Big Lake, they sail.

All projects are test projects. I wonder about ALM, certainly a movie will emerge from this, but am I just setting the stage for a future scheme?
Much of ALM works, but I’m having problems with posting and sharing video. That’s kind of a crucial component. “Look at me I’m traveling” and “here’s what happened today” are not enough of an outcome to justify all the effort and expense. I’m living pretty minimally granted, but I want to offer more than just reporting the trivia of my admittedly unusual life.

Doing this project, I feel like an envoy of destiny, one foot stepping into an incredible possibility, an inevitable present that boggles. Are we really going there? Are we really getting in accord with the momma? I guess by dreaming it, by dedicating a summer to it, I am bringing it forth.

Yes the social aspect matters, it’s gotta make sense. Video and blogging are somehow integral, even if they are ineffective, if hardly anyone is paying attention. The ritual of outreach is what this is about, imaging the ideas flowing out and finding minds, delighting and inspiring. If I act in good faith, eventually the reality will catch up to my dreams.

Hello World is just left of center

A column of Segways passed my shade, surreal

Facebook catch-up

This is for the Facebook people who’ve been missing out on recent posts due to the unpredictable behavior of the sharing application. I’ve gone back to a less fancy but very reliable solution.

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

Back in a big city

Day 31

It’s big city life, Chicago. Amazing how familiar it feels after days and days of waves.

Mostly I’m catching up and doing housekeeping. After breakfast I wandered over to Monroe Harbor and made arrangements to bring in Hello World. I was feeling a little apprehensive about sailing into such a busy place, but learning is what were here for. They’ll call me and let me know my “can”. Cans are floating buoys that boats can tie to, arranged in a grid so it’s something like a parking lot for boats. I did my first floating dock in Grand Haven and Chicago will be my first can.

Credit card snafu resolved thanks to competent record keeping. When you put it out there, it shows up. That’s how I found a health food store in the loop with Bronners, I needed real soap big time and most of my hygiene supplies are a 20 minute train ride and a swim away. Picked up more raw cacao nibs too.

Took CTA out to O’Hare to meet an old friend who now works for the government doing black ops, so I can’t tell you his name. It was cool seeing him even if he is an agent of oppression empire builder rat fink. Flipping this scenario so I’ll feel better about it, I’m going to say that I met my lost love at the airport and she lit up several times during our time together, forgetting her cares and worries for an hour or so over fancy food she wouldn’t eat. We kissed like a dream way too late.

Riding back I was mildly euphoric and not unsettled as if I had spent an hour with a childhood buddy turned monster baby killer. A sort of anti-matter me, I’d rub him out if he wasn’t the yin to my yang, the F.

Returning from the airport, I walked up to the Apple Store along the Miracle mile to buy another hard drive and find a replacement AquaPac. The drive they had but not the other, tho they told me on the phone they had it. Face to face, all the experts and geniuses were totally ignorant of this essential Iphone infrastructure.

Back at the hostel and an errand or two before trying the Indian Cafe around the corner. Not impressed. It seems like there’s an ethnic stealth franchise movement here in Chicago, a theme park approach to restaurants. At Flaco’s Tacos, the food is decent and there’s only Mexican folks working there but I am not sure they own it. Then there’s Joe Curry, which is an Indian spin with similar set up and the only people working there are sort of south asian looking. Meanwhile back at Cafecito a Cuban place that does sandwiches and coffee, the folks working there appear to be some flavor of latin, maybe Cubano. Now it’s not impossible that these places are owned by their respective nationalities, but they all seem to be set up in similar styles. If it’s tastes and looks ethnic, is that enough? Is this worth looking into?

I spent the rest of the evening cloning drives in the 4th floor conference room until about 2:00 am. My lips are chapped and burned, but frequent applications of Carmex are beginning to turn the tide.

My can is North Oscar 29, easy access from the main channel into the harbor. Thank goodness. Looking forward to picking up Hello World, a little worried about her all alone in Calumet Park.


Day 30

Down at the beach with Jeni and Nancy to open my wind window. Steve came jogging by and they introduced us. He’s working at the steel mill and said that before US Steel bought it and nixed everyone’s pensions, it almost became a worker cooperative. Later he returned with his wife Randy with some sweet arrowheads that he had made! He gave me the pick and I immediately snatched the rainbow obsidian, what a beaut.

I offered him one of my artifacts of the global life support system but Jeni took it instead – the polished concrete from in front of Fritz’s in Douglas.

Steve also gave me an organic PB and J, so that about wraps up his application as producer. Imagine what we could accomplish with Michael AND Steve.

Send off from the secret freak tribe at Ogden Dunes, Steve is taking the picture

Dan the other filmmaker showed up too and Nancy’s sister – we had a crowd! I was off the beach by 10:30 into a very light wind, Calumet looked very far. As usual, the gods kicked in and we were hauling ass by 2:30 roaring past the breakwaters of the point and into the harbor. I had a sketchy idea where I was going, but studying images on the net paid off. The mooring is kinda wavy, but the beach was an easy offload. We’ll probably move north soon.

Loaded up with technology and even less of a plan, (eat something) I biked off into the wilds of south Chicago. I was feeling like a bit of an idiot, where was I going? My iphone was out of power, so no helpful searching. The mural of Jake and Elwood was encouraging, I just needed to stop worrying and flow. Eventually a train station appeared and I waited on the “To Chicago” side. The conductor was very helpful and suggested I get off downtown for a Taste of Chicago. I didn’t really care about the festival, but I’d been downtown before. Why not?

Detraining at Monroe, I rode seemingly at random until I found my burrito place – small, good food, cute waitresses and one table with power to charge the iPhone – hurrah! I searched for hotels, then an inspiration… hostels! Remember hostels? The Hostel International Chicago was just a few blocks away for $30 a night. A bike room, laundry, crappy wireless and oblivious young clods – what more could I ask for? At least waves won’t be bashing my spine at 3:00 am. If I can find a solid home for HW, I’ll haunt Chicago for a few days and catch up on the project, duplicate hard drives and ship them home. Maybe within a week we can be back on schedule… Whoa!

What can I say about a night at Chicago’s Hostels International? Generally it’s fun – bunk beds and common bathrooms, padlocking gear. You’re not supposed to drink in bed, but I am constantly needing to hydrate from days in the sun so I took my water bottle up to the top bunk with me – and my laptop, camera, phone… After I nodded off I heard the my bottle slip between the bunk and wall and fell into my neighbor’s bed below. I had dreams of his bed flooding, of my camera getting wet.

Then some duffus came in, turned on his reading light and left for another two hours. I can sleep through a lot but WTF? Coming entirely awake at 3:00 am, I toyed with a scheme for hauling my water bottle back up by dropping a slip knot over it. I could clearly see it between his bed and the wall thanks to the light of the inconsiderate oaf. Problem solving is so much of my moment to moment experience now that it’s like breathing. Fishing with a slip knot in some random dude’s bed seemed fraught with peril, so I bagged the project and resigned myself to fate. Mr reading light finally returned, read for 5 minutes and turned off the light. Just then my downstairs neighbor headed for the bathroom. I pulled on some pants, jumped down and grabbed my bottle. I took it and my phone down the hall to the empty conference room for some charging and catchup time.

Too late to go back to bed – 5:00 am! 7 hours to get to O’Hare airport to meet an old pal. Around 7:00 I checked out the hearty all GMO breakfast the hostel had provided for the kids of less gullible nations and chatted with Anna from Argentina. She was a latina ringer for Sarah Eichberger-Wheeler.

Marooned in New Buffalo

Day 28

I woke up bright and fine after a terrific rest. Having surveyed the forest last night, I knew a nitrogen drop off was doable. The rich loamy sand of the forest floor had a dense root mat. I found a deep pocket of forest far from any trail, scrapped off the duff, opened the mat and dug a hole about 6″ deep. I emptied the poopamatic into the hole, replaced the soil, mat and lastly the duff.

Returning to the boat I crawled back into the tent until the sun climbed over the dune and made it feel like the inside of a light bulb. Before packing, repairs.

A cargo bracket had slipped out and had to be reseated. In the process of tightening I broke a buckle and had to replace it from spares. I sat down with the tiller extender in the shade and slowly worked it open. Wading into the waves with it, I coaxed it open and closed until all the sand was flushed out. Now it’s good as new.

I started getting ready and got as far as rigging the mainsail when the uphaul came untied and flew up the mast and out of reach. My options were either to shimmy up a 25 ft slick aluminum mast, drop the mast or tip the boat on it’s side. Option 3 was my choice and I eventually was able to get the needed leverage by hanging both dry bags and the anchor bags from the wire. She came over like a dream and back to upright without a hitch. By the time I was off the beach and into the big curlers it was 1:30 pm.

I has slept just a couple miles from the Cook nuclear plant, and I passed it sailing sw in a west wind. The wind tapered from a stiff blow to a whimper by 4:30, leaving me stranded in front of New Buffalo. A couple in a largish monohull helpfully told me where I was. They eventually gave up on the wind and motored in. I eventually followed powered by paddle and the occasional puff. On the way in I recovered a mighty blue plastic container which Mike and his family claimed for a recycling bin.

Sunset at New Buffalo

Friendly lighthouse at New Buffalo Public Beach

I supped at the Brewster, a stellar Italian restaurant. Before commiting to the Brewster, I confirmed my plan with the locals at the open til midnight boatshop. That’s where I bought my very own Thirsty Mate like the one Tim Cook had loaned me in Grand Haven. I still haven’t tried the sealant Mark and Marilyn gave me.

I’d like to say the evening was pleasant but I’d be lying. It was very blowy back at the boat but I pitched the tent on the tramp anyway and tried to sleep. I was up at 2:00 am and then again at 3:00 am with incredible night sweats, I think I might be getting sick. The waves were getting louder and the wind was giving the tent a fascinating geometry. I stuck my hand out and into the sand, it was wet! Waves were getting closer.

I offloaded the boat in the moonlight and dragged her to higher ground. I wrapped myself in a tarp behind the gear pile and crashed. I eventually added a sleeping bag to this arrangement to keep from freezing and enjoyed 2-3 hours of blissful unconsciousness. Now for a quick grocery run then vamos.

Jean Klock Park

Day 25 and 26

Jean Klock park. Spent yesterday and this morning with Carol deconstructing the very sleezy maneuvers required to tear down exquisite wild dunes and privatize a community commons. Will a poorly designed golf course and an upscale brownfield development really become the new economic engine of Benton Harbor?

The Jean Klock Park Wikipedia article includes an excerpt from John Klock’s dedication in 1917. He and his wife Carrie gave the park to Benton Harbor as a memorial to their deceased daughter, Jean. Emphasis is mine.

“In taking an inventory of life, we all take stock of the circumstances surrounding the happiest moments. The giving of this park to the city of Benton Harbor has been to Mrs. Klock and myself, the happiest moment of our lives. The deed of this park in the courthouse of St. Joseph will live forever. Perhaps some of you do not own a foot of ground, remember then, that this is your park, it belongs to you. Perhaps some of you have no piano or phonograph, the roll of the water murmuring in calm, roaring in storm, is your music, your piano and music box.”

In closing Klock affirmed: “The beach is yours, the drive is yours, the dunes are yours, all yours. It is not so much a gift from my wife and myself, it’s a gift from a little child. See to it, that the park is the children’s.”

Fast forward 90+ years. About 2/3 of the park has been leased to a commercial golf course and land development scheme, Harbor Shores. Prior to this horror show, a chunk of the park was sold to private parties for beachfront homes. Talk about invader species. The legal battles have been long and hard fought. The last gasp of the suicide culture deploying the same failed strategies with predicatable results. In the short term, loss of wilds and the subversion of local democracy.

So where is the future here? How does this illustrate the emergence of sustainable civilizations?

I think the answer is Carol Drake. She’s a tenacious being with a fierce love of the wilds. Decades into the struggle, she still sheds a tear recalling the Jean Klock Park of her youth. She might feel weary and despondent but she won’t rest until the invaders are repelled and the land healed. She’s doesn’t have wealth or advanced degrees, she just loves that park. That’s what gives her the gumption to keep shoving sabots into the flywheels of the death machine. She hasn’t stopped it yet but she’s certainly slowed it down, made it smoke and grind. Like the Klock’s she copes with her broken heart by giving the gift of the earth. Her continued existence is evidence of a miraculous sustaining energy. It’s my theory that the global life support system has been flowing through her. She is the vanguard, we are all getting plugged in.

Her dunes are coming back.

Salute! Saugatuck (and Douglas)

Day 24

There’s steady WNW wind this morning, good for heading south. I’ve got a stop I might make along the way to Benton Harbor today. I’m looking to round out the Lake’s bottom before the month ends. What’s in Chicago? I don’t have any hookups there yet, I’m just going to wing it – maybe make a spontaneous landing north or south and introduce myself to some beachfront homeowner or find the municipal marina. Likewise, I don’t have a clear plan for Gary which I’ll be passing before Chi, but I do have a dark fantasy about a clandestine overnight somewhere in the industrial badlands. This could be the most beautiful and/or harrowing leg of the trip.

First Benton Harbor then a night somewhere in the Indiana Dunes, favored by sweet breezes. Alternate outcomes are infinite, I am open.

Yesterday I edited some of the Vince Gallant segment, pulled Hello World further up the beach and then took the Swans up on their gracious offer to share food at Tracy’s. The rye bread? Fuggedaboudit!

Thanks to Dawn and George Schummer and Fred Eagle Royce for providing power and showers, Catherine Bragdon for our interview in the park, the crew of the chain ferry who I didn’t get a chance to film cause it was closed when I went back, the Swan’s, RJ Peterson, The Oval Beach staff including Tom and especially Vicky Morales, Barb the beach glass and rust collector, Kelsey, Bruce, Tom for the sobering reminder that white supremacy skulks in these pretty little towns (some of my best friends are black people, but…), Amos Kennedy the humble negro printer, Tracy and Marcia.

Two halves

Day 22

Waking at Schumann’s 7:00 am, gotta move on over to Fred Eagle Royce’s and then get to town for an interview with RJ Peterson, marina magnate, community booster, friend to the late Dennison and self proclaimed conservationist.

RJ asserts the development proposed by McClendon will be a boon and the best bet for low impact development on the dunes, but also opined that whatever happens on the former Dennison property will not make a wit of difference to the Saugatuck / Douglas economy. For RJ, the harbor is what matters. A municipal marina would help bring support for dredging and maintenance. What if bigger boats could get in as in days of old? What if the Kewadin could get out? RJ is gruff, outspoken and perhaps even a bit stubborn, but I suspect he is more open minded than most locals give him credit for. When I asked him if he was on the McClendon payroll, he barked “I wish!” That’s a sort of integrity, IMHO.

Ignoring or dismissing this dynamic curmudgeon would be a huge blunder. Like the shifting dunes and great pounding shoreline, RJ embodies the heritage and majesty of the region. He is practically a force of nature.

Later Alison and David Swan met with me. They described an aesthetic and economic vision for the community that I found far more compelling and realistic than any old school development so far proposed, low impact or high.

RJ and the Swans have two complementary hunks of one great plan. I wonder if they know…

Do Ludington

Climb the bluff carefully for a thrilling view of the big lake and better cell reception.

Nearby construction along the bluff edge reminds me of my reason for sailing around Lake Michigan. Activating global consciousness to steward and EXPAND the wilds.

Wandering about I discover a whacky development project with faux stone and dune grass (?) Head spinning, I borrow stairs back to the beach.

Maybe I’m being judgmental and forgetting essential principle of project – unexpected artifacts. What do the real estate agent and developer have to offer? Interviews?

Take the bike to town, bad reception and depressing juxtaposition of industry and wetlands at nearby park. Forget iphone maps, just ride into town. Synchronistic stumble on the Secretary of State’s office, I forgot to renew my drivers license before launching. Phone rings… date with developer next morning.

Google ‘ludington organic’ and find the Plaza Cafe, interview Tom and then check out Redolencia.

Chad recommends a half press and a couch with power. Blogging and recharge, Chad impromptu set and interview. Meet Lars and head on home, stashing bike in the meadow at top of bluff.


Sarah Castle recently tweeted an New Scientist article by Deborah Mackenzie, Living in Denial, Why Sensible People Reject the Truth. This may have been a continuation of our exchange over my Stephen Hawkin inspired ET conquistador proposal, so I’ve been thinking about it, teasing out my ideas. It’s a sketch, perhaps once I am on the water I’ll elaborate on these themes.


There are many ways to ask a question. People test hypotheses, initiate conversations, open themselves to experience, devise tools for discovery, make myths, wonder without words and relax into knowing.

Science yields reliable predictions about the future. Compassion reveals the feelings of others. Mindfulness is an inquiry into the possibilities of the present. Living history is an exploration of the past from suppressed or forgotten perspectives, as demonstrated by Howard Zinn and John Hendrik Clarke.

Our experience of reality is determined by how we ask. We manipulate and fabricate reality with questions. ‘What do we want?’ can often be entangled with ‘What do we want to know?’ Know in the sense of both having pragmatic information and in the sense of wordless rapport, whether sexual, spiritual, aesthetic…

Science is one way of knowing. It’s emphasis on prediction has enabled our amazing technological civilization. We begin to realize though that the questions science poses cannot insure our survival or even guide us to joy.

Edward Bernays applied the theories of Sigmund Freud to develop the most destructive force yet unleashed against the earth – the consumer. Industrial productivity enabled by scientific inquiry has broken the climate. We literally cannot live with science alone. That’s Koyaanisquatsi – crazy life, life out of balance.

Science has rubbed out the authoritarian gods – and filled their shoes. Just one more rigid system that must not be transgressed, *cannot* be transgressed – it’s the law. The law of gravity, conservation of energy, etc. It’s impossible to step outside these laws… until our understanding shifts and we find those laws were just special cases, applicable only so long as x and y were true. Are we really so arrogant to think that our understanding is nearly complete?

Rather than demean or ignore other methods of inquiry, scientists should look for allies. Anyone who is intensely curious, anyone who is rigorous with inquiry – whatever the method –  is potentially an ally. Openness to the idea of questions could be the basis for unity. Questions should not be evaluated by whether they can fit the dominant mode of inquiry but whether they are interesting, useful and even fun.

Conspiracy theorists attempt to break free of the gravity well of conventional thinking. They express a pragmatic and savvy skepticism of authority. They are entertaining. Not all conspiracy theories are bosh either, conspiracies really happen.

If we accept that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 911 and that he didn’t have significant weapons of mass destruction, why did we go to war with Iraq? Was it just a big mistake or can we use the C word here? I remember a lot of misleading imagery and dysfunctional reportage in the media back then. I remember fabrications by authorities and leaders. Who’s ready to step up and name that animal?

We can’t survive if we limit inquiry or act only on the authority of experts. Rather than deny the irrational we ought to find out what it has to offer. If both the rational and non-rational are our allies, we won’t be at war with ourselves.



New Scientist is doing a whole series on Living in Denial. Three days ago Michael Fitzpatrick contributed with Questioning Science isn’t Blasphemy. Dr Fitzpatrick may not agree with what I’ve asserted here, but I appreciate his bringing some balance. I had read Why Sensible People Reject the Truth weeks ago and was inspired to try and contrast my position, to articulate what seemed important. I have to thank Deborah Mackenzie, her assertion that folks who don’t agree with orthodoxy are mentally ill, she really had me going. I hadn’t reread her article until tonight and whoa! The generalization that “all denialists see themselves as underdogs fighting a corrupt elite” could as easily be applied to activists and reformers.

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you -  There’s rumors that the Tea Party movement is corporate funded. If Ran Paul is the best those folks can muster, then maybe the whole point is to discredit dissident movements in general by equating them to the Tea Party.  You wanna take back your government? Aw, go join the Tea Party!


Yesterday afternoon I tested both the Aquapac underwater camera solution and my Gul skin out wetsuit with a swim to the blue line.

A classic tao situation. All the cheese and yogurt I’ve been eating is starting to show – too much repair work and not enough expression of magnificent physicality. I couldn’t run yesterday morning ’cause my calf was inexplicably crampy again. I was also thinking about my Gul skin out wetsuit because Scott of Sailsport Marine scared me. Just before he sold me rivets for the jib tracks, he said “Dude, you’re crazy,” and “That water is cold.” He’s right, it is and will be for a month or two more. The prudent move would be to test my wetsuit and what better way than with a rigorous 15 minute round trip to the blue line? (computer, phone). An adventure just before sunset.

Success! It was cold certainly but I could probably last an hour in the water, plenty of time to right a flipped Hello World. Pulling off the wetsuit afterward I realized that my original justification of the need for cheese wasn’t self deceptive gluttony after all. A little extra fat might be a smart start. So the cramping calf, the cheese, the wetsuit repairs, the dire warnings of my local Hobie dealer… I just went with it all and lo – enlightenment, bliss.

I did it again just now without the camera and with Five Fingers instead of booties. Water temperature is 49F.

The cold could fire off ear infections so alcohol is a must. My hands were scary cold when I started but were buzzing with warmth at the blue line. Hallucination or superior metabolism? I’ll definitely get some gloves to complete my neoprene ensemble. I’ve also got to replace the Gul logo on my chest – maybe I can get the URL on there somehow.

Armor Amour – chapter 2

Here’s the back page from the vintage Hobie Cat brochure that came with Hello World. Hobie had an intriguing angle on catamarans in 1979 – camping. Perhaps being a subsidiary of the Coleman Company had something to do with it. I don’t know whether this was a significant factor in sales back then, but this photo sure made an impression on me. Sailing Around Lake Michigan was not in my head when I bought her – so let’s hear it for the power of antique lifestyle marketing!

As the groovy copy explains, Hobie 16s can navigate very shallow water and can even be sailed right onto the beach – sandy preferably. They can go where few other boats can with minimal impact on the environment. That’s why Hello World is ideal for wilderness camping – in theory.

A spiel reminiscent of Adam Curtis's Century of the Self documentary series.

In practice, rocky shallows and sandy shores scrape away the hull bottoms. An lightly loaded Hobie bounces off rocks, deflecting the force of impact and minimizing damage. Add tents, sleeping bags and other cargo (like tripods and scuba tanks) and inertia increases, making direct impact and serious damage more likely. Landing a loaded Hobie on a rocky beach requires a slow approach. When the water is shallow enough to wade, it’s best to get off and walk her in, off load the bags, place Bao longs (solid fenders) under her hulls and then roll her up.

Even with such careful handling Hello World’s bottoms were pretty chewed up after last September’s trial run. To survive 3 months requires armor.

The highly worn areas along the bottom have already been protected with 9 layers of epoxy mixed with 10% powdered aluminum, an additive sold by West Systems for abrasion resistance.

Powdered aluminum is also a component of thermite – a steel cutting explosive used in building demolitions. Traces of thermite like residues have been detected in the dust from the Twin Towers. It took me two days to armor up the keel with the powdered aluminum, and each batch I mixed was a sort of meditation on dark history. My two beautiful fish, the feet of Hello World shod in sleek gray gloss. Perfect paradox.

Applying armor

Originally, Patrick and I had discussed installing thin steel plate along the keels. To conform to her complex curves, the plates could either be curved to match her contours or be placed as tiles, like on the space shuttle. In a worst case scenario, tiles could be torn away without taking a great chunk of hull with them.

Lining both keels with steel would have added a lot of weight – so aluminum powder was the choice. The most vulnerable section is between the bow and the mid section, the point of first impact below the water line. I repaired damage there when I bought Hello World and smashed it again myself last September.

Armor detail on port hull. Roller texture will be abraded soon enough. Port hull from inside. The most vulnerable area is defined by the width of the filing cabinets


I’m currently investigating plating the most vulnerable bow/mid section with pre 1982 pennies, which are 95% copper.

…and by the way, Happy Birthday to Me!

Armor Amour – chapter 1

When Hello World came down from the rafters I was dismayed to find she was still wet. Before lofting her last October I had drained the standing water from the hulls. Though I suspected her fiberglass / foam sandwich was still saturated, I assumed that 6 months hanging in a warm house would dry her out.

I had forgotten about the 10 lbs of sand that had washed into the port hull during the Point Betsie surprise. The water did migrate out of the sandwich but rather than evaporating it mixed with the sand and pooled. There was about a half gallon in there!

The starboard hull had been breached, probably during the emergency landing to secure Zilliax’s bike. I had drilled the damage clear so it could drain – which it did – drip, drip, drip all winter. Yet the sandwich was still saturated when I opened the hatch hole.

Removing the wet sand and facilitating evaporation required hatches to be installed in both hulls. Love suffused my methodology. Deployment of the other essential modification – keel armor – was accompanied by a melange of emotions and associations, including the events of 9/11…

Why does powdered aluminum remind me of September 11, 2001?

I know the journey has started when…

I know the journey has started when I don’t know when it’s going to start.

The moment when the handcrafted Hello World slides into surf cannot be predicted. I’ve been back in the water since the year flipped. I’ve shared my process nearly every day for the last month. Even with the dust of her body clinging to my clothes, her curves all atangle and in disarray, we search. The important part is how we start – not when. This project celebrates assembly after all,  the awakening of the way.

August 09 same thing. Time was a fiction,  deadlines a conceit. Jackie Ankerson made it plain yesterday. Do I want the sun to fly across the sky, am I in a hurry to get to my grave?

Here’s how I’m changing. No time on wind river, (computer / phone) she’s ready when she’s ready. I too may only be half baked / boiled – though last night’s tub could have been the hottest ever.

Now that we’ve settled that…

While returning from yet another pilgrimage to my local West Systems and Interlux dealer, I realized that I only had to have interesting conversations. I only have to interview people who fascinate me. Does any part of this adventure need to suck? Not on purpose!

The way to make this project (and life in general) amazing is to dare to be who I am. If this movie is going to be watchable then I have to push through to me. Naked on camera – glorious, confused, grinning, dashingly scruffy, fierce, introspective, full of shit, fabulous!

You’re either down with the Dan or not. All those Facebook scribblers – pshaw! Why, I’ve been gushing my secrets without a by-your-leave since before Mark Zuckerberg was cozying up to the shadow government or stealing his clients’ ideas. Who remembers tractor feed paper?

Look, I know nobody’s reading all this, ok? I’ve got better things to do than read my ramblings too. All this bluster is a sort of encryption. God is always in disguise, otherwise there can be no cosmic game. You get it now? If not – no worries! It’s likely the Rev. Victoria Weinstein didn’t even make it this far – and she’s a divinity professional.

-5 days – fly true

Despite precautions, when I crawl into bed I feel the prickle of tiny glass fibers on my naked skin.  I mingle with Hello World, we become one flesh.

Hello World is more than my production platform, transport and home. The ‘boat as planet’ analogy is especially relevant – if my boat’s messed up, I might die.

Do I mythologize when I say it’s a cinch for me to feel her presence?  Like me, she is made of star stuff. A lot of energy and intention went into her design and manufacture. In her 31 years of existence she’s been a facilitator of much joy and excitement for the Vigland family. She’s been cared for with pride and guiltily neglected. Now she’s collaborating with a mad genius and his wild tribe on a world saving Search for Sustainable Civilizations.

When during this sequence of events did sentience arise? Is she alive and deserving of love only because I’ll be counting on her?

It’s fun to wonder about. What I can report first hand is our rapport, especially when sailing. She moves with and speaks to me, she is aware and involved.

Mere cybernetic transference? Advanced visualization technique? Dan smiles….

What does all this have to do with today’s progress report? The fiberglass work is stretching because this boat is a being.  I have to do my best by her. Attend, please.

When hatching hulls, the standard procedure is to cut a hole and screw the hatch on. That’s not for me. The Viking hatch I bought from Murrays doesn’t mate well with the surface of the hull and removing structure compromises Hello World’s strength and integrity.

My solution is to create a ring of new structure around the hatch hole and build up the hull surface for a nearly perfect fit. This manuever made an afternoon’s project into 4 days!

Love keeps Serenity in the air says Malcolm Reynolds. I’m so down with that. Knowing I gave Hello World my best attention will keep me grinning when we’re miles from shore and a crazy wind is howling. I’ll remember that I loved her enough to take the time, and she’ll fly true.

-4 days – child’s questions

A cup of ginger tea before donning the yellow hazmat suit and starting the day’s fiberglass fun. The Brunton inverter is whirring away somewhat creakily as it charges this iPhone. Most of the gear has already been checked for solid operation, the Brunton solar power components are among the last on the list.

How am I changing? I’m preparing for nomadic life, for wandering within. It took Loreen Niewenhuis over a year to walk around the Big Lake, so the distances involved are imaginable, human. The scheduled duration of our sail Around Lake Michigan is about 3 months.

I get to go faster than Loreen because I’ve got technological infrastructure and a larger carbon footprint. Though powered by paddle and sail alone, Hello World is an industrial child. She owes her existence to oil drilling and petrochemistry, (polyester resins, dacron sails, nylon rope) not to mention mining and smelting, (aluminum frame and mast, steel fittings). Add in the filmmaking electronics we are carrying (rare earths, heavy metals) and suddenly this project isn’t quite so bright green.

The price for 3 months of environmental documentary in a romantic mileau is a diminishment of our collective destiny. I kill all of us a little by making this trip. I’m not an impact idiot either, I work to minimize the consequences of my daily actions – fairly small footprint as far as 1st world lifestyles go. Even so, the way our civilization is set up, I can’t help but hurt.

Jor-El packed his infant son into a spaceship and sent him from the doomed planet Krypton. Moses was placed in a reed basket and launched on the Nile. The stories keep coming back. We make another variation today – an artifact of industry launched to transcend industry by reminding us of what we already know. Into the shadows to search for light. I am the man who asks the child’s questions.

-3 days – soaked

Sorting and packin


Dreams of flying last night. A decisive ignorance of gravity and intense experience of remembering.  When I’d stretch into a laughing loft or a lazy backflip I’d feel a body rush / energy shiver flash from my chest. I kept thinking – I’ve done this countless times before. I’m dreaming… but this is real.

Flying is fun but what felt the most amazing was remembering. This dream came from the same place as the perfect attention / rapture vision I had with Jon and Laura. It’s the reality behind the waking state, what I’m really doing here. Transparency. I keep seeing thru – for which I am grateful.

I’m in the tub now as Tuesday fades. I’ve got the iPhone in it’s waterproof bag so as to catch up on my reports. Fiberglass repair halted yesterday when I cut the hatch hole for the port hull and found the foam sandwich soaked. Basically a winter of hanging in a warm house didn’t dry Hello World completely. Not only does extra water add weight, but the existing fiberglass structure needs to be totally dry before new glass will bond to it.

Port hull has yet to opened, starboard hull hatch ready for sanding and shaping


It’s May and all – but a snow shower is not impossible. That might be why Shop and Save is still stocking pure calcium chloride.

Calcium chloride can suck enough water out of frozen air to dissolve and form ice melting brine. I sealed 5 open ziplock bags full of calcium chloride inside the hull. In theory, the interior humidity will drop and the dry air will suck water out of the foam and fiberglass walls. I’ve checked and the walls are much drier while the plastic bags are slick with condensation. Did I mention my high school chemistry and physics grades sucked?

Port hull filled with calcium chloride


While the inexorable laws of science cranked away, I picked up my cargo plates from Chuck Hunt of Northern Welding Specialties. Although some of the plates need a little rubber mallet encouragement, they fit fine and seem to be an ideal solution.

These stainless steel plates slip under the lip of the hull… … enabling straps to cross the top of the hull and keep cargo secure.


I also bit the bullet and ordered West Systems 420 aluminum powder to armor the hull bottoms. It should arrive tomorrow afternoon from Bay City, Michigan via UPS ground. With a little luck the repairs will be wrapped by Thursday and ready for touch-up paint.

After this much needed bath I’ll be updating the inventory and taking pictures. There have been a host of minor snafus, to wit… The big tripod won’t fit in the Pelican 1720 cases unless it’s disassembled. The new dive light takes AAA batteries and not AA, which breaks my battery standard. I’ve got to return the extra iPhone bag because there’s no camera window. These are all DK errors, but I’ve aced so many other challenges I can’t complain. WordPress for the iPhone is DOA, let’s trust a reload will fix that.

The 1720 cases that will be strapped to the top of the hulls. The big tripod is to the right of the silver scuba tank.


The longer I stay the shorter my summer, so I really do have to get out of Dodge ASAP. Folks ask me – are u close to leaving? I’d like to think so, but there are more interesting questions… eg – As launch approaches, how are you changing Mr Dan Kelly? Ah! Ask me, go on… I dare ya!

The hulls upright and ready for hatch work View towards Crystal Lake
Close up on starboard hull hatch opening before sanding ready for paint and installation of the hatch
Cracking at the pylons cleared and filled with 404 Stump crack healed and ready for fairing

Wild idea

Places not managed by humans thrive. What does that tell us? The idea of management is inherently flawed. When we see ourselves as apart and other we become the blight.

Learn from the way, the wilds. Become rather than command.

The mad wasichus wanted the yellow metal, trading mythic cyclical abundance for it’s flash and glitter. A thought contagion sterilizing the future.

If conquistador ETs are just a little far fetched, then let’s try virulent memes. Imagine ideas that can infect and replicate. Imagine an idea that can shut off our drive to survive, like bio weapons shutting down our immune systems. We know ideas flow through culture like breeze through trees. What if ideas evolved too? What if an idea was alive… and toxic? Eek!

What would a cognitive immune system look like? To have tasted the yellow metal madness and recovered. Building immunity to an intriguing idea, even rejecting a complex meme synergy – an entire culture.

Folks misbehaving might be the cognitive immune system at work, attempting to throw off the infection. A hallucinatory fever, madness against madness. Burning off the bad ideas.

Is there such a thing as mental medicine? Can we develop a serum, an infusion, a protocol?

Analogies are fun.

1 day – intrigue

“Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.”

Iranian Prime Minister Mosaddegh explaining why he wanted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. A CIA and MI6 coup removed him from power and the Anglo Iranian Oil Company became British Petroleum or BP.


http://www.democracynow.org/ (05-06-10 end of show)

6 days – family

Woke up with a big happy after an 11 hour crash. About 8:30 pm last night I started nodding and had to lay down. Could have been the wine and lasagna… or just the turnings of mystery.

I clarified my extra-terrestrial conquistador theory to Kari yesterday when she brought over lunch. White euros weren’t themselves aliens by and large, they were just the first to come under alien influence. The white euros established colonies as unwitting agents of ETs, vanquishing native cultures through chicanery and bio-weapons.

This discussion flows from Stephen Hawking’s recent suggestion that maybe we shouldn’t be advertising our presence to the cosmos as we might attract cosmic conquistadors… and end up like the Aztecs or the Incas.

IMHO, it’s not an issue. The Aztecs and Incas didn’t broadcast on shortwave and invite the smelly Spanish to come lay a can of whup ass on ‘em, they got “discovered”. Likewise, we don’t have to worry about attracting space pirates to Earth, they’re already here. That’s why the dominant culture is locked on apocalypse and folks are conditioned to kill themselves. We’ve been infiltrated and double crossed… and most of us have no clue. The best attack is the one the enemy never notices.

Yep, I’m out of the closet. Conspiracy nut – don’t tell me you’re surprised?!

What does this have to do with sailing and sustainability? Most humans really are human but are tranced out, especially regarding their self interest. Using the conquistador analogy, there are certainly way more humans on earth than space invaders. We humans can wake up to what really matters – like a robust global life support system. Global life support is our number one native priority. Anyone who advocates otherwise has an ET’s arm up their shirt, yanking their yack strings.

Sustainability starts with reminding each other who we really are.

Chief Seattle said that the white man’s way was the end of living and the beginning of survival. Now it’s unclear if most folks even know how to survive. Remembering how seems like a great place to start.

By the way, we’ll probably never see a full on space invader until we’re damn close to taking our planet back. So just assume everyone you meet is an authentic earth native. Beyond the raving and occlusion, we can find a way to be a family again.

7 days – fuggedaboudit!

Since I’m making a movie, I can get away with documenting everything. Writing daily, describing insights and epiphanies ad nauseum. This blog is a strategy for generating interest in the project – coming soon to a theater near you… Clearly I am a social media savvy filmmaker!

Let’s flip it. What if I just had an urge to share, to pass my memes around? What if i just wanted attention, to be listened to? The whole movie thing, even the adventure of sailing Around Lake Michigan solo in 16 foot catamaran… what if it all is just a plea to “look at me!”?

My ex-wife would’ve agreed. She thought that my outgoing and gregarious habits were a sign of deep insecurity. Thus the prefix ex. She might have been right, maybe I was/am deeply insecure… but I think joyful contact and rapport with others is a healing force. Cowering in a closet gets me nowhere.

The path of recovery from addiction starts with recognizing and admitting the addiction. Disabled athletes blow us away because of what they achieve *through* limitation.

We face a world crisis that seems to big to cope with. National governments are puppets to profit and unable to act. It’s frigging scary. What can we do with the fear?

If I am sailing just to get attention, fine. If my limitations can be leveraged to make a miracle, what’s the problem? Driven by my insecurity, perhaps I’ll discover a wonder. If this entire project becomes an enormous public pratfall, a disaster – so what? I’ll take what’s at hand and give it a whirl, painting with the full palette – confidence and insecurity. The creative principle is consciousness. When we pay attention everything becomes useful.

I want to demonstrate the art of glorious mistakes and fortunate accidents. Arthur Dent learned to fly by falling and accidentally missing the ground. We learn when we forget how to fail.

Familiarity breeds contempt, which is another way of saying – fuggedaboudit! Failing is painful at first. The trick is to fail big time, over and over until the novelty wears off. Then try even crazier stuff, schemes so totally out there that eventually genius kicks in and voilà! If not success then at least another blog post.

9 days – Love!

Notice how calm I appear? Tomorrow gear should start arriving via ground shipping including the voice of Hello World, Winslow’s Torus. I’m a Taurus too!

Hello World has yet to go into the shop for fiberglass patching, but I think I’ve got everything I need to do the job. We’ll start today.

Total pre launch expenses for services, parts and materials should be under $2500. Deft deployment of the indy filmmaker’s friend – low APR credit cards – makes it possible.

We’re also enjoying amazing gifts and discounts. Patagonia has offered their corporate purchase program to the project, Dan Kelchak is giving a break on the repair of the Larrivee, Winslow is contributing a bell for Hello World, Julie continues to hook us up with pro bono social media guidance and the tribal citizens are activating their networks, both real life and virtual. I expect the generosity and collaboration will continue – it’s awesome and thrilling.

We are not doomed, my friends. Acting together we can turn this around.

Will Around Lake Michigan make it to Cannes or Sundance? It doesn’t matter. The success of a project isn’t measured by critical acclaim or money made – that’s so 20th century. It’s measured in how much hearts open and awareness expands. ALM is already blowing me away because of the resources, humor and love flowing to it.

I put myself out there as the ambassador of an idea – we can discover a sustainable civilization. It’s whacky sure, but doable. The idea basically asserts that humans are not doomed, nor are we inherently toxic. We can be a benign and eventually benevolent presence on the planet. Let’s roll up our sleeves and figure it out, let’s redefine what matters, redesign our desire.

Holy ship that’s huge! What else have you got going on today? Crazy job, messy divorce, health issues? Ok, we’ll give u a couple weeks to square away your troubles and wrap up what’s not working, then you’ve got to come out and play!

Whether or not you dig my clown pirate schtick, we can each ask ourselves what we REALLY want. If we accept suckiness as our destiny, that’s what we’ll get by default. I’ve got nephews, nieces and cool friends who are breeding. I cannot accept suck as their future. I myself want to have a good reason to dance, sing and make an utter fool of myself. “Aw, leave him alone, he saved the planet!”

Be a human for heaven’s sake. Our destiny isn’t supposed to suck!

As Jim Allegro used to say, ideas are alive. This project begins to breathe. We are all coming back to life.

10 days – errands

A day driving around and hooking up with experts.

I dropped in to see Chuck of Northern Welding Specialties first, but he wasn’t there. He told me via cell that he was teaching at the college and perhaps we could meet after 3:00. I didn’t get back to his shop until 5:30 and missed him. We talked again and agreed that I can email him some drawings of the cargo brackets I’d like him to fabricate.

Next I swung by the indy Apple store City Mac to pick up a spare power supply for the Macbook Pro. I got to see Zeb and Greg. I also got to touch an IPad. They’ve sold a couple dozen already and Apple is not able to keep them stocked, but that’s typical for new product introductions.

  1. √ Macbook Pro power supply [Apple] $80

Rolling down 31 toward town, I pulled into West Marine, a big box vendor and our local supplier of West Systems products for fiberglass repair. Bob sold me 2 x 200 feet of thin anchor line for Hello Word’s double anchors. He had given great guidance last August but I could only afford 2 x 50 feet of line then. The longer lines will allow Hello World to safely anchor in water up to 30 feet, greatly expanding our overnight options. Andy asked me about the trip as I hadn’t seen him since early September 2009. By coincidence he had moored his boat next to Hello World when she was anchored in Grand Traverse Bay. He had also recently come across a scrap of paper in his wallet with the ondesire.com url scribbled on it. A friend saw it too and assumed it was some kind of porn site.

“Hey Andy, what’s that all about, eh?” Nudge, nudge, wink wink!

“On no, it’s this guys sailing blog, honest!”

We also wondered about the guy who had been rigging a 40′ cat for kite sailing and a big ocean trip. He had eventually launched, but neither Andy nor I had heard what happened to him.

  1. √ 2 x 200 anchor rope $200

Oryana food coop was the next stop. The managers there let me buy a stack of thin plastic containers provided for bulk nut butters. These and yogurt containers are ideal for mixing fiberglass. I also bumped into Christie and invited her to the launch on May 8.

  1. √ x2 paper towels [Seventh Generation] (fiberglass)
  2. √ plastic bulk containers [Solo] (fiberglass) $5
  3. √ bandaids [All Terrain]
  4. √ non deet insect repellent, [Badger]. Green Ban is nor longer stocked.
  5. √ x2 ribbon floss [Toms]
  6. √ apples, bananas, ginger, carrots, liquid soap [Bronners], bread [Pleasanton Bakeries], cheese [Organic Valley

Down 8th Street from Oryana is Brick Wheels. They had worked on Zilliax's Miyata bicycle last September, but their mechanics were booked up until after My 8th. They recommended City Bikes, so that's where the handlebar replacement, tuning and brake work is happening. Should be ready by 5/6.

I ate some hot rice and beans from Oryana's deli on the ride over to Scuba North. Captain Jack was there, he and Charles Craw had originally certified me as a NAUI diver in the late 80's. Jack recently sold Scuba North but is continuing to work there, in his words, "Now I am making money instead of loosing it!"

My big 80 cubic foot tank is just too bulky and heavy to bring on Hello World. At Scuba North I checked two sizes of pony tanks, 19 cubic feet and 30 cubic feet.  I originally wanted to go with two 19's and Jack explored hooking them together with discontinued fittings. Twining tanks is more common in Europe these days, so there are no USA distributors for new parts. Two small tanks would be easier to fit than one big one, but to use them together during a dive I would either have to buy a 2nd regulator or twin them, European fashion. With the gear Jack had on hand both tanks would have to be empty to break them apart - not a good solution.

Jack also explained that the water accumulation would reduce the capacity of the 19 faster than the 30 and that it would be a good idea to dry the small tanks before every fill. Here's the specs...

19 cubic feet

height = 21"

diameter = 4.5"

wieght = 9 lbs

price = $125

estimated dive time at 30 feet = 19 minutes

30 cubic feet

height = 22.5"

diameter = 5.25"

wieght = 14 lbs

price = $145

estimated dive time at 30 feet = 25 minutes

With a diameter of 5.25", the 30 would just barely fit in the Pelican 1720 rifle cases - .25" to spare. This is probably the way to go, a good balance between the 19 (short dive time) and the 80 (too bulky to carry). I'm going to ponder this a few more days.

  1. √ extra backpack strap for small tank [Seaquest] $20
  2. √ shoulder pads for backpack [Dive Rite] $16
  3. √ repair kit for skin out wetsuit [Aquaseal] $20

I bought a strap to fit a smaller tank to my backpack, padding for the shoulder traps, and aquaseal kits to to fix repair the dings in the Gul skin out wetsuit.

A sweep past along east bay gave me a chance to drop off the thumb drive Jeff had loaned me and to visit Interlochen Guitar and Dan Kelchak, the project’s luthier. My Larrivee parlor guitar was stepped on at a party right after I got it -  almost broke my heart! Dan patched it up, almost good as new. Since then the Larrivee’s been west to the beaches of Hawaii, east to the canyons of NYC and even camped on North Manitou Island. To survive sailing Around Lake Michgan, the Larrivee needs love. Dan and I came up with a plan for rehabilitation. He’s going to reinforce the internal structure, securing delicate wood struts and panels that have broken loose or split. After that, I’ll sand her back and secure the vulnerable injury with fiberglass. Her sound might not be as bright, but she be solid for years to come. His part of the project will run about $200.

  1. √ repair Larrivee guitar $200

I dropped off the drowned iPhone at the UPS store for return to Apple. Out of warranty replacement is $200, I should see it this week.

  1. √ out of warranty replacement iphone returned to Apple $200

Finally I drove down to Bear Lake to borrow the grinder and fordham tool for the fiberglass repair. Me and the men spent the evening finishing the Firefly TV series on Netflix.

Take my life
Take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

11 days – shopping

Heading into Traverse City to shop and run errands. Here’s my list…


  1. bug repellent (no deet) [Green Ban] (1)
  2. food


  1. paddle head or new paddle
  2. sawdust bag (waterproof)

The UPS store 14th or garfield the ups store

  1. return iPhone 3GS [Apple]
  2. repair ID

Scuba North

  1. go see Scuba North ponies 19, 30, 40 cu ft
  2. out wetsuit[Gul] in car
    1. repair
  3. harness
    1. compatible with dual ponys + PVC dummy?
    2. padding for pec/bicep

Brick Wheels

  1. bicycle [Miyata, Steve Zilliax] in car
  2. needs tune
  3. replace handlebars
  4. valve adapter

Dan Kelchak

  1. Parlor Guitar [Larrivee] repair, stabilize back [Kelchak]

City Mac

  1. laptop power supply [Apple Computer Macbook power supply] (1)

West Marine

  1. West Systems faring and structure supplies
  2. mixing cups (yogurt containers – recycled)
  3. paper towels
  4. x2 200 ft of line (30 ft depth x ~5-7)
  5. sample line in car

Sailsport Marine

  1. extra rivets for the jib traveler tracks (tight, no play)
  2. rudder (spare)

Jeff’s house

  1. drop off thumb drive

Richfield Trailer Supply 470 Us Highway 31 231-943-4700

  1. flat hook straps

Shop and Save (Benzonia)

  1. tape measure
  2. white gas
  3. 20′ rope, 30′ drawstring, 200′ twine
  4. zip locks
  5. x5 NiMH 9v battery (2)
  6. x20 NiMH AA batteries (4)
  7. jumper cables
  8. grinder

Bear Lake

  1. fordham tool
  2. bits

12 days – details

Much ordering, inspections and organization. I’m driving up to Traverse City tomorrow or Tuesday for a shopping day.

Fiberglass work has not started, I expect to prep the garage for Hello World today and maybe even get her in there. Structural damage is spread over 5 spots totaling 1 square foot in area. The hull bottoms need to be faired and all repairs painted.

Compared to last fall’s rebuild, this work should take about 5 days from prep to paint. As long as there are no surprises once repairs start, launch will be on schedule. I’ll be posting progress.

I’m introducing a new variable to the equation – saddlebags. The idea is to deploy uncrushable waterproof storage so the Larivee parlor guitar can come along. One scenario involves strapping Pelican 1720 rifle cases between the hulls and tramp. I could also keep them on “on deck” and eliminate one of the big dry bags.

The cases weigh 20 lbs each. Hello World can carry 500 lbs but I want to stay well under the max and only carry 400 lbs. I weigh about 180 lbs + 40 lbs of cases = 220 lbs total. That leaves 180 lbs for gear or the equivalent of three decent sized backpacks – 1 for wilderness camping, 1 for production / power and 1 for scuba. Don’t forget the bike. Doable.

On the Master Checklist, orange text is for items that need to be inspected, tested or acquired. Green text is for items ordered. Checked items are on hand and ready to go. Monitor our progress towards launch on the Master Checklist… like watching spring shoots poke up out the dirt!


15 days – Making of a Saint

Getting close now. Order of operations seems to be holding together, it’s spooky that I’m mostly on schedule. Everything can go right between now and launch… it’s possible.

I am noticing more, recognizing the unfolding of a larger story. A lot of ideas to fit into a coherent movie… I guess I started this, mostly just made myself available and let the pieces fall into place. Is this what I want?

How it began… On location in 2006 shooting my first movie with a budget. For the next two years I spent most of my days free climbing the first movie learning curve. Daughter of God – http://dogthemovie.com. I kept the fridge full with freelance production work for NYC dancers.

In 2008 I spent yet another perfectly good summer sweating in a tiny apartment staring at screens. The DOG project has merit and is worth finishing, will be finished. Is anything worth giving up a whole summer of diving Crystal’s blue, of running barefoot in the forest, of waking up to waves lapping?

Here’s the deal… Daughter of God is set in a post apocalyptic world, it’s a post apocalyptic surreal romantic comedy, sinister in the sense that some humans still dream of asphalt plains resplendant with the snaking migrations of countless multi-colored cars. It’s over tho, human population has been devastated, industrial infrastructure deleted and nature is reclaiming the cities. Certainly there’s toxic aftermath, sure the survivors are traumatized, but they dress snappy!

Meanwhile, back in RL I’m listening to Democracy Now every morning on WBAI radio. Assembling a fictional apocalypse seems pretty pointless when an actual apocalypse is nigh – I can never match the Pentagon’s special fx budget, let alone Gaia herself.

I wondered… Is DOG the best use of my time right now? Wouldn’t I rather be swimming? How about that super hero correspondence course I just aced?

That’s the setup. In the autumn of 2008 Kai invited me to make a documentary about sailing in Hawaii and – of course – sustainability… ;) Well? What would Jesus do?

That was earth momma’s little joke. Come summer 2009, Kai abandoned Desire and Pele for a motor sailor… and I noticed there was a 30 year old Hobie Cat in my driveway.

Is this what I want? To act as an agent of Earth disguised as a pirate filmmaker? Hours drifting wind free followed by contact improv with Shiva? Three months of wilderness occasionally interupted with regionally brewed stouts and porters? The making of a saint?

I say, Yes.

16 days – Roman Nose

Kari was over last night for dinner and we talked about guns, earthships and vision quests. She used a big cutting board as a model of Hello World, sliding it back and forth on the counter top as if it were tossed in a slow motion tempest. She talked about her training for scuba and snorkle and how you always take a buddy on the water.

“Doing what you are about to do, alone on the water, says you are willing to die for what you are willing to live for. It’s a prayer out there.”

I mentioned that I wasn’t sure whether it was Geronimo or Crazy Horse, (it was Roman Nose) who laid down on a tiny raft and got stormed on for 4 days. After that bullets couldn’t touch him.

I never thought about this aspect of the trip. Sitting with the awareness this morning I felt reluctant to even relate our conversation – but this is an open source inspired project.

Those who are ready to read this post will. Those who are following and paying attention may share my epiphany. Wow. That about covers it.

Joe Campbell advocated following your bliss. Bliss or passion. Zeal. Zealot.

Back around again to desire. What do we want? Are we ready to have what we want, where that takes us? Each of us has a built in compass that we’ve been taught to fear. Humans are only clever animals after all, they’ll rape and murder given half a chance. Our nature is savage, red in tooth and claw. Monsters from the id, Morbius.

If we buy that, then desire is the last thing we’d ever dare to explore. Desire comes from our nature, desire = nature. See where this is going? By denying our desire we deny our nature and that’s how trivial and self destructive life ways are imposed upon us.

Ah, what a grand opera this truly is, I begin to see it now. Over and over authentic experience has been replaced with the mediocre, the slaughtered labeled savages and erased from history. That’s why we’ve got to keep digging up so called sustainability and relearn it, reimplement it, re-remember it. Taught to fear what we are.

What am I?

17 days – pronouns

You might notice an unusual use of pronouns in this project. “We” usually replaces “I” when discussing the trip. That’s because Hello World has it’s own identity and presence, it’s not just Dan Kelly sailing Around Lake Michigan, it’s Dan Kelly and Hello World. When sailing we become a cybernetic / symbiotic fusion of two sentient beings, so technically “I” would be appropriate, but we’re not always sailing. Sometimes she and I are lounging on the beach or rolling at anchor in the swells.

How can Hello World be a “she”? I mentioned our symbiotic rapport when under sail. If the wind is wild, the edges between boat and Dan blur. My senses stretch – I feel the taughtness of the sail, hear the singing of the wires – every creak and twist of the hulls are happening in my own body. Comparing it to sex is a cliche – it’s sex with deep trust on the edge of oblivion. It’s sex to stay alive.

Once initiated into this mystery, one can’t help but see the radiant goddess in curves of fiberglass, swishing nylon and aluminum arches. She too is an artifact of the industrial age – love has no limits. Americans can learn to cherish sailboats and earthships as much as they loved their hydrocarbon powered cars, maybe more. Take heart.

Another unique use of “we” and “us” is in reference to the tribe. Everyone who’s thinking about the trip, telling friends about it or helping to make it possible is traveling along with Hello World and Dan Kelly. Even without blog posts or tweets, I can feel your attention and presence. We are all doing this together.

What’s today about? The schedule is already slipping but that’s to be expected. We’ll have to make daily adjustments as launch approaches. Concentrating on core issues, getting ready to go.

The master checklist is about 90% complete and posted. It will be revised right up to launch day as I sort, verify and (if needed) repair items. Borrowed, contributed and purchased gear will be arriving next week.

The itinerary was posted yesterday, but it’s really just a sketch. Short of having Edgar Cayce or Nostradamus on the team, there’s no way to know our schedule in advance. The itinerary has two functions – to provide a rough idea of where Hello World and I need to be and when so that the trip can wrap well before the snow flies (August) AND to inspire the tribe to think about artifacts and where they may be – specific people and places. We’re getting action on that already.

Training report

Just ran 4 miles, 2 backward in 21:00 minutes or 10:50 minutes/miles and 2 forward in 16:11 minutes or 8:05/minutes/mile for a total of 37:11 minutes. The backwards miles are amazing, just keep tossing the feet behind and trust.

18 days – inventory

Sunny and chill by the lake this morning. Working through the recently posted order of operations, taking inventory and building lists. I expect to be asking this afternoon and into tomorrow – contacting a few key companies and inviting them to collaborate with gear and services. I’ll also have a list of companies whose products are already part of project. They can be approached later for help with post-production.

The lists also provide a trail of breadcrumbs for those who might like to replicate the Search in their own locale. Low impact exploration doesn’t have to involve sailing or even extensive travel – future artifacts are everywhere. The lists are modules – camping, hiking, sailing, cooking, production – that are applied to fit the situation.

Building, revising and simplifying these lists is a wonderful process. Limiting my life to just what I can carry on a boat is liberating. Being ready for whatever might arise, I can feel truly home – wherever I go. At ease. Present.

My methods will determine my results. By asking what minimum requirements are, I’m tuning into what really matters. I think that’s the basis of this whole project. Desire is what really matters most. I want to live, I want to be warm, I want to eat. The lists answer these fundamental questions.

Handling the fundamentals I suddenly realize that I’m free – everything else is clutter, distraction and entanglement. Amusing perhaps, convenient, attractive… but being able to let all of that go – that’s the beginning of the discovery. If I can find future sustainable civilizations, it will be because I am able to thow off the fetters of the present civilization, to drift free from it’s assumptions and imperatives. Empty and open to a simplier way, starting with survival.

Checklist clothes

    revised 10-05-31
  1. √ x2 socks wool [Icebreaker]
  2. √ x2 underwear poly/merino
  3. √ x2 underwear cotton (1)
  4. √ merino top [Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 XL]
  5. √ x2 merino bottom [Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 L] (1)
  6. √ black cargo pants
  7. √ pile pullover
  8. √ wind/rain shell [Patagonia]
  9. ASK *** wind/rain pants [Patagonia]
  10. √ pile baklava
  11. √ wool gloves cut-off
  12. √ shorts [Patagonia]
  13. √ bandana
  14. √ dress shirt
  15. √ sailing and surf shoes [Vibram Five Fingers]
  16. √ hiking boots [Blundstones]
  17. √ sun hat
  18. √ pack towel

Master Checklist ALM 2010

revised 10-05-19

This is based on the 09-08-31 Master Checklist, posted only 5 days before the September launch. We’re posting this 18 days before launch – that’s progress.

revised 10-05-31

Launching 23 days late and this will be the final review. Yikes, so much for progress.

  1. Survival
    1. warmth
      1. shelter
        1. √ tent, poles, stakes [The North Face]
          1. check
        2. √ sleeping bag [The North Face, Cats Meow 2001]
        3. √ sleeping bag [Montbel, Ultra Light Alpine Burrow bag #3 2008]
        4. √ foam roll /  yoga matte [Gaiam]
        5. √ x2 tarp 4′ x 8′
        6. 20′ rope, 30′ drawstring, 200′ twine
      2. sailing wetsuit / drysuit
        1. √ skin out wetsuit[Gul]
          1. repair
        2. √ booties
          1. replace w/warmer
        3. √ hood
        4. ASK *** drysuit
      3. clothes – link
    2. water
      1. √ water bottles x4 [Nalgene]
      2. √ ceramic filter pump [MSR]
        1. check
      3. √ dual use – see Hello World/righting/big bucket
    3. cooking
      1. √ locking pot with lid
      2. √ big family pot
      3. √ 4 x bowls
      4. √ 4 x spoons
      5. √ dish soap [Ecover]
      6. √ scrungy
      7. √ wooden spoon
      8. √ paring knife
      9. √ white gas stove [MSR Whisperlite]
        1. check
      10. √ x2 fuel bottle large [MSR]
        1. fill
    4. √ food
      1. √ grains (make link)
    5. √ sanitation
      1. √ portable composting toilet
        1. √ prep
      2. √ sawdust bag (waterproof)
    6. sundries – link
  2. Hello World [Hobie Cat]
    1. checked and repaired
      1. hull structure
        1. √ starboard bottom hole from rock impact, possibly near dune buggy blowouts UP
        2. √ starboard hull ratching hook dents under lip ~5
        3. √ port dent from stump pre 2009 launch
        4. √ ratcheting hook dents under lip ~5
        5. √ install hatches
        6. √ fair hatch surround
        7. √ reinforce inner hull under hatch
        8. √ fair and armor keels
        9. √ plate first impact
        10. safety patch
      2. inspect
        1. √ frame
        2. √ lines, shrouds
        3. √ mast
        4. √ rudders
        5. √ sails [Whirlwind]
        6. √ remove Hobie logo
        7. √ shock cord for trapeze (10-05-13)
        8. √ main traveler (10-05-13)
          1. thread lock main traveler
        9. √ big bucket righting system
          1. √ test
        10. √ ditty bag
        11. toolkit
        12. spare parts
        13. √ paddle head or new paddle (10-05-13)
        14. √ harness with back support and spreader hook [Murrays] (10-05-13)
        15. √ hull graphics
        16. √ x4 baolong fenders (10-05-13)
    2. Tools
      1. tools – link
    3. Legal
      1. √ Passport
      2. √ Hello World registration
      3. √ x4 vds – water proof flares [Orion]
      4. √ air horn with bike pump [Ecohorn]
      1. √ torus bell [Winslow]
      1. √ x2 life preservers for trapeze [Stohlquist]
      2. √ x1 white light
      3. √ x1 red/green light
      4. √ x2 light mount and safety line
      5. √ x2 anchor, 6 feet chain with buoy
      6. √ x2 200 ft of anchor line (30 ft depth x ~5-7)
      7. √ x2 45 ft of line (5-7 ft depth separate or 12-18 ft combined)
    4. Navigation
      1. √ gps and charts iPhone application [iNavX]
      2. √ x2 compass [Engineer] [something that won't explode or fog up]
    5. Production and Power
      1. production and post kit – link [Canon] [Apple]
    6. Communication
      1. √ submersible VHF – [iCom M72]
      2. ASK *** iPhone 3GS [Apple]
        1. √ dry bag [Aquapac]
      3. √ iPhone back-up [Apple]
        1. √ dry bag [Aquapac]
      4. √ Mifi [Verizon]
        1. √ Mifi interface USB
        2. ASK *** summer connection
    7. Bags and straps
      1. √  backpack – [The North Face Snow Leopard 1991]
      2. √ backpack – [The North Face Technical 1995]
        1. needs repair
      3. √ dry bag backpack x2 [Seal line 115 2009]
      4. √ fanny pack dry bag x2 [Seal Line Sealpack 2009]
      5. √ messenger bag with shoulder and waist strap [Tenba]
      6. √ compression stuff sack [Granite Gear]
      7. √ x6 large stuff sacks [Granite Gear] [Sea to Summit]
      8. √ x7 small stuff sacks [Outdoor Research] [Granite Gear]
      9. √ x2 Pelican 1720NF Long Case without Foam Black 20lbs w/foam ~$400
      10. √ x8 climbing carabiners [Black Diamond
      11. √ x4 climbing carabiners locking [Omega Pacific]
      12. √ x12 H16 cargo plates [Dan Kelly and Chuck Hunt]
    8. Scuba and Snorkle
      1. ASK *** waterproof enclosure for Vixia [Light and Sound Bluefin] [Gates]
      2. waterproof enclosure for Vixia (shallows and light duty waterproof) [Aquapac]
      3. √ pony scuba tank 30 cu ft [Luxfer]
      4. √ pressure gauge [Cessi]
      5. √ harness
        1. √ adjusted straps removed shoulder release
        2. √ compatible with dual ponys?
        3. √ padding for pec/bicep
      6. √ regulator [Seaquest]
        1. √ purchased 87 rebuilt 7/09
      7. √ mask [Mares]
      8. √ snorkel [US Divers]
      9. √ x2 fins [Mares]
      10. √ x2 weight belt
      11. √ x4 dive weights
      12. √ flag
      13. flag mount
      14. √ NAUI card
      15. √ bag for mask and snorkle
      16. √ check mask for leaks
      17. √ mesh bag for all gear
    9. Landing
      1. √ bicycle [Miyata, Steve Zilliax]
        1. needs service
        2. replace handlebars
      2. √ aircraft cable (cargo)
      3. √ ratcheting straps (square ends not hooks)
      4. √ heavy duty chain and lock [American]
      5. valve adapter
    10. Art
      1. √ jbells
      2. *** ASK soft chaulk [Prang]
      1. √ Parlor Guitar [Larrivee] 36.25 x 13.25 x 4.5
        1. needs repair [Kelchak]
        2. armor [Dan Kelly]
    11. Logistics
      1. √ trailer

19 days – Order of Operations

Time for a list of lists, a preliminary inventory. With 19 days left, we’ve got to design the optimal sequence of actions. To avoid the carbon cost of airplane flight, new gear needs to be shipped ground which means ordering within the week. Gear requests should be started first so we’ve got to decide what we want and who we are going to ask by Monday.

One of the prerequisites for asking is an effective introduction to the project. This is where the mini-movie fits in and it’s several days behind schedule. We are just going to have to make requests based on written materials with references to the long running video excerpts. There are five components to our collaboration proposal – a good idea (√), a coherent and workable plan (√), established distribution channels eg Ondesire.com, Facebook and Twitter (√), a documented mob (growing) and an articulate introduction (pending). Having a non profit umbrella would also be helpful so that contributions would be tax deductible. Since I missed my NP liaison last month, I doubt I could set this up before June 1, so I may just have to skip that. Perhaps it’s worth a phone call.

Monica Evans asked about making cash donations to the project. The trip itself is not all that expensive because it’s designed to be replicable/low budget/low impact, but post-production after the trip could cost $30k for labor and services. Asking for money doesn’t have to happen before launch, but it wouldn’t hurt to identify prospects now. I could then schedule several days during the trip to make these requests.

The origins, an overview. I’ve written deeply about the inspiration and origins of the project. Along with completing and posting the mini-movie, linking to the most articulate of these posts is vital. Methinks it might be a good idea to link first (today) and the sort out the mini-movie immediately after.

We’ve can instantly develop a starting inventory by linking to last September’s checklists, and then replace them with updates. They will also be helpful in identifying gear collaborators.

Posting our itinerary will not only trigger suggestions from the tribe about where to go and who to see, but other potential collaborators.

Finally, Hello World needs glass and rigging repair. There’s about a week worth of labor plus curing time after each patch, so this has got to begin no later than day 14 on the countdown.

So – here’s the  order of operations draft…

19 days

• inventory/checklist rebuild 4/18

• introduction with links to inspiration and origins 4/18

• inventory revised with potential collaborators identified 4/18

• mini-movie 4/18+

18 – 16 days

• asks initiated 4/19 – 4/21 + mini-movie

• itinerary posted

17 -15 days

• ordering 4/22 – 4/23 + mini-movie

14 days

• Hello World repair 4/24+

12 – 10 days

• ordering and ask follow up 4/26-4/28

9 – 8 days

• provisions 4/29-4/30

• hulls complete and float test

7 days

• preliminary pack 5/1

• trailer and transport arranged

6 – 5 days

• final orders and provisions 5/2-5/3

4 – 2 days

• complete Hello World repairs and adjustments 5/4-5/6

1 days

• final pack 5/7

0 days

• trailer to E beach, launch party, overnight 5/8


• launch 5/9

Here are the general questions which helped me to develop this post.

Who can help, what companies are already involved?

What companies could be involved?

What’s the itinerary so far?

What does Hello World need to be water ready?

What provisions and consumables are needed?

We need Facebook fans – today!

This is an all points bulletin. Facebook fans are needed at…


The Facebook interface is halt and lame – I can’t argue with that. It’s a sinister black ops app, designed to identify stylish shamans and target them for liquidation – Quite so.  Casino theory has been implemented in it’s design to suck time and life force from it’s victims / members – Yes, obviously.

Fret not, we’re infiltrating the infrastructure and turning the whole scheme topsy turvy. This page is blessed, so FAN like crazy! Here it is again…


21 days – Artifacts

Here’s a rough sketch of an introduction to artifacts, one of the components that’ll help explain and set-up the Search for Sustainable Civilizations. I’m running late on the mini-movie / extended trailer, let’s see what happens this weekend.

Without further eloquence…

Richard Burris, Artifacts (full screen)


Richard Burris, Artifacts (smaller but more compatible)

Winslow’s bell

Winslow the blacksmith has been talking about a bell for Hello World on Facebook, but I kinda hate FB’s interface so I thought it would be easier to post some illustrations here and then make some comments.

It’s important that a bell be somewhere where it can’t brain your favorite sailor in big winds. Also, it’s important that I’m able to ring it when needed and silence it completely when not. If it could be set so that wave action makes it ring, this would be handy at night and in fog. With these criteria in mind, there are two places to mount a bell, A under the bridal shroud lines (an inverted v of aircraft cable that runs from the bow of each hull and connecting just below the sail and B at the end of the main sail boom. The boom swings around a lot but the very end doesn’t ever cross the trampoline – where the sailor is stationed.

An advantage of having it at B is that it’s more accessible to the sailor. Location A might be more stylish.

Any shape of bell can be mounted at A or B. Winslow has presented a bike bell sort of design that looks interesting. He choose this primarily to minimize a tapered edge like one might find at the bottom of a bell shaped bell. Traditional bell tapers would act like a meat cleaver given a little momentum.

Since locations A and B are not near the sailor, a traditional bell would be ok. It’s really up to Winslow. Since he is offering his energy and unique vision to the project, I want to give him space to express himself. Along with the criteria mentioned above, it should be no bigger than 6-12 inches in height and not much heavier than 10 lbs.

24 days northern spring

Beauty is a feeling and this morning I have it. It’s the combination of rapport, getting fit and making progress.

In the past two days I’ve reconnected with Brook Hash, Susan Gilbert and tonight Kari Tomashik will be stopping in for a bite. My excellent nephews and I ran hard yesterday. I need a few more days on the mini movie / extended trailer but I may have figured out how to introduce the idea of future artifacts.

Still and gray tho it be today, the momentum of spring is near. Life is stewing and brewing, electric green is sizzling up though the concrete and lighting up the tips of twigs. This is a wave I can ride – renewal, awakening.

The solar panels will deploy, the wind pumps sway and twist. It’s the sun harvest and the global life support system, extant. Welcome back miracle and much thanks. Show me the science and I’ll show you the presence, live and direct.

Let me be as useful as an early leaf today, stretched taught and crispy in the brisk new day.

25 days calm and serene

Calm and serene – that was the mantra of the Marietta college freshman crew team. Yeah, we were buff brothers and precisely sychronized, but coach Ralph Lindamood (1922-2001) was a savvy old coot, he knew relaxation was the third leg of the high performance tripod. He had us trained up in a sort of self hypnosis meditation tecnique. We won like crazy, our tiny Ohio College trounced team after team. It’s the tradition in crew for the loosing boats to give thier shirts to the winning boat. I didn’t need to buy a t-shirt for 10 years.

I tell this story because we can be strong and smart, but for a truly stellar outcome it helps to chill out. Get centered. I know a martial arts teacher who is exceptionally lethal and when he dances in combat he smiles. Not the manic grin of a psycho killer, but the easy smile of someone having fun – without a care in the world.

I’ve brawled as a kid, truly angry punching and grappling. What’s more stressful than fighting? What I’ve learned is that intense fear/rage is counter productive in combat. Stress makes me a casualty. It’s the same in life.

With 25 days left before launch, I could be getting worried. Three weeks may not be enough time to get everything together. Being unprepared could mean either failure to make the movie or even failure to survive. The later I leave the later my return and the colder the weather gets. I may not be looking at a balmy September like 2009.

You know what? Worrying about it won’t help. The most productive place to be in this crisis is calm, empty even. I woke up this morning feeling exceptionally relaxed and easy. It’s getting down to the wire and I’m right there, with an odd sort of smile on my kisser.

28 days

Is there ever enough time to properly prepare? 28 days until launch and the to do list is daunting. To make my departure date i’ve got to handle the absolute essentials first. It’s very confusing to have to scrap great chunks of the project so that the core can be achieved.

My mistakes? I’m not the most effective manager. Initially I recruited the wrong poeple for the work I needed and found myself having to train and cajole rather than direct. Managing meant less progress on my own work – the mission critical stuff.

In theory, help sounds wonderful. In practice it can be distracting. Ideally we want to clone a fragment of ourselves to do a job our way and then forget about it. Poeple don’t think or act alike, so help means finding someone who is an approximation of ourselves in key areas – experience, motivation, interests. My failure to find close matches for the most important jobs was compounded by geography – it’s tough to motivate, manage and train remotely.

Melonie finally bailed in early March.  I excused Jonathan from his blogging burden soon after. Running solo was kind of a relief.

Susan Fisk has since taken over command of the Twitter front with minimal supervision and Jonathan’s been focused on his post production chops. The team transforms, adapts and persists.

I am still looking at a plateful. The only answer is to crank – increase metabolism and gobble. Perhaps not the right analogy for a low impact project? Damn the analogies, full speed ahead!

On artifacts and the incomprehensible

In a scalding tub, burning away the muscle ache from yesterday’s kooky backward run. I skip showers for several days running just so I can dip neck deep in steamy agua caliente.

Today I bought a minivan from my fam and pondered how to introduce the concept of future artifacts into the project. I’ve got some major elements present in the current extended trailer. What’s missing is character development including DK’s science fiction influenced premise for Around Lake Michigan which points to artifacts of future sustainable civilizations. Take a breathe!

What does an artifact of FSC look like? Tricky, that. An artifact is anything that gets us past the hospice culture and on into living. Sure there will always be uncertainty, but can’t we take the pistol out of our maw for a decade or two, just give it a rest? Yes we can! Yes we did – in the post present.

Artifacts are telegrams from the future – we solved it and here’s how. Jet cars or sail boats? Soylent green or CSAs? Artifacts can be RL processes and perhaps cybernetic extensions. When Mozilla builds an open source Facebook into Firefox – that sort of thing. If Monsanto were run by Geshe Michael.

I know, it’s Dan Kelly’s perplexing internal world. Not since Tolkien has any artist fabricated a fantasy so arcane and detailed. Forget about comprehensible, this is the future talking. Buckle your seatbelts.

We’ll clarify all soon enough. The really big waves are preceeded by a sucking sound.

Inherent artifact

44 days until the scheduled launch. In 3 weeks I’ll look back wistfully and think, “I remember back when there was plenty of time.”

The logistics of sailing and camping for three months are significant. There’s the boat itself which includes spare parts and repair supplies. For those who haven’t sailed, know that it takes lots of rope, pulleys and metal doodads.

Navigation is handled mostly on the iPhone with compass and chart applications, but I’ll carry actual compasses for backup. There’s also safety equipment required by the Coast Guard like flares and lights.

Food and shelter is handled with a wilderness camping kit – backpacking tent, sleeping bags, tiny stove, pots etc. Don’t forget the CNA or Composting Nitrogen Accumulator, aka Poopomatic TM.

On top of getting around and maintaining life, remember we’re making a movie here. That means at least one camera, cables, tripod, microphones, hard drive, laptop, batteries and solar panels for charging it all.

All this stuff has to weigh less than 250 lbs and be sealed in dry bags. There’s no cabin on Hello World.

Boats, islands, spaceships and planets are related – they have finite carrying capacity, specific conditions (gear) are required for life and long term survival requires attention and careful planning. Around Lake Michigan explores this idea, it is the project’s inherent artifact.

How do we realize sustainable civilizations? We find artifacts and figure out what they imply.

Online addiction

I’ve been so focused on social phenomenon that my first thought when I wake up is to get online. With only a month left before launch, it’s time to kick the habit.

I’m replacing my morning urge to compute with yoga and tai chi practice. I’ve joked about being eye candy for the camera but the truth is that Around Lake Michigan is physically demanding. I might spend hours hanging in harness if there’s big wind. I’ve got to pack and haul 70 lb drybags twice daily and push 300 lbs of sailboat on and off the beach… for three months.

My friends know I’ve been into yoga for about 20 years and studied tai chi since 2004. As a pragmatic guy, I judge the value of these disciplines by what they have enabled me to do, both physically and emotionally. I can call upon deep resources when things get intense.

Being fit and capable is as essential as packing flares and first aid. I’m confident I can get up to fighting trim within the month.

How is physicality an artifact of a future sustainable civilization? Yoga and Tai Chi are ancient practices with an expanding reach, even discounting the trite and goofy mutations. Bodies must move for optimal health, we are not designed to be sedentary. To be fit is to be alive and present. Julie had this great insight about the metaphor of planet as island, island as boat, boat as planet. With her usual directness she added – body as earth. Our body is a metaphor for earth. If we wish to be adept stewards of the earth, we must begin with our personal cosmos and portable ocean – our own body. Learning to steward and celebrate ourselves, what a concept.

Second* day of spring

8:30 am on Crystal Lake and it’s quite brisk and still. Strangely though, it feels different than the deep silence of a couple days back. This morning i don’t hear so many creatures speaking and their timing isn’t concerted, they just tweet and caw whenever.

The difference could be that two days ago was vernal equinox. Why wouldn’t the birds behave differently on this day? Tuned into the rhythms, it might be the day when they take inventory – who has survived the winter? Who is present and ready to begin our great dance again? Perhaps the silence in between the strange cadence of thier calls is a listening.

Whether or not Michigan’s last wild wolverine has died, we don’t know. Our culture is not very wild aware. The wolverine’s passing makes me wonder how animals assess their surround, the available cast of characters. It would seem likely that they might. It’s a gaian viewpoint to expect this degree of inherent organization in wild things, but then I am an earthman, what other viewpoint is there for me? Why deny my own experience?

Species interact, depend on each other even if they’re in competition. It’s a little theory on the second* day of spring, Enjoy.

* Spring equinox was March 20  at ~12:30pm EST (UTC-5), so today is the second day (< 24 hours). If we go by dates then it’s the third day.

What ist am i?

Awareness is my way. Science and religion both miss the point when they ask us to deny our awareness, what we just know. Not know from common sense or by faith, by analysis of data or by memorizing some scripture, but know from being alive. What’s worth cultivating and the basis for any worthy protocol is to trust our own experience, to attend to our own experience and be open to our moment. Thus are we able to navigate and enjoy the quirky world in all it’s marvelous contradiction.

Hello World on this exquisite Saturday!

What’s worth listening to…

Deconstructing doom

Jonathan has been questioning the veracity of the doom assertion in the ALM / artifact premise. A premise or pitch is a shorthand introduction to a project – typically delivered in less than 15 seconds (and often in an elevator). A great pitch should distill a project and summarize it rather than simplify. Here’s the current version of the ALM pitch.

We know that a sustainable civilization is coming because if it doesn’t show up, we (human beings) are doomed. Since we all expect to survive, survivable civilization(s) must emerge within the next 10 – 15 years. That means they must be already coming together, they must be in the process of emerging right now.  We can can expect to find fragments and partially assembled components everywhere. These artifacts of future survivable civilizations can be discovered and shared, growing awareness globally. That is the objective of Around Lake Michigan.

Is this premise inherently misleading and broken? Jonathan offered some interesting insights.

Jonathan – What’s the proof that we are doomed? That reminds me of mainstream media’s fear mongering and exaggeration which makes intelligent folks allergic.

The more I think about it, the more of a core issue it seems this might be, as far as making this site truly communicate with folks.

It isn’t clear who is the source of the information, when you say that there’s dark things up ahead. Where is this prophecy coming from, you (dan kelly), the scientific community, the mainstream media, etc.? If the prophecy is coming from one of these sources, then you need to explain why the audience should be looking to themselves to answer what the solutions are, rather than this source. And that isn’t usually easy.

Example, if the scientific community is saying global warming is the problem to focus on, and people respect them and this opinion of theirs, then they’ll naturally look to the scientific community to tell them exactly what they should do about it. They won’t look to themselves for the answers, because they weren’t even capable of noticing the problem until science pointed it out to them.

Another example is 9/11. From observations and common sense people could see that it was not an accident, but not who was to blame for it. Later that same day the government/media started putting up a picture of Osama Bin Laden, explained who he was supposed to be and that he was supposed to be responsible. And so it was the government/media that folks followed to war, not their own individual pieces of knowledge or independent viewpoints.

If you want to break out of this system, of people following “leaders” or “experts”, and instead trusting in and finding solutions to problems themselves, then they have to become aware of the problem within their own experiences and minds. Otherwise it is just more blind faith. You need to show people the symptoms of a problem they can become aware of within their own life experience, independently. Ask them to confirm what you are saying within the things they have already seen.

Certainly if the artifacts of the solution are already around us, there must also be the artifacts of the problem for people to confirm what is going on for themselves.

Within the context of ALM and this website, you as the stand-in character for the everyman, the joe average, could talk about your personal experiences that made you become an environmentalist. Maybe recount how you saw certain things change over your lifetime that made you aware the present course was heading in a very dark direction.

Then recount some of the artifacts of a possible future way of life, that you experienced over your lifetime, that lead you to start this search for a sustainable way of life.

This reminder about individual experience is indeed powerful and worthy. Mass disconnection from direct experience is what makes the toxic consumption juggernaut possible. On Desire is a DIY effort, it’s about taking personal responsibility for the situation. “What situation?” Jonathan asks. What exactly is our ALM guide, Dan Kelly talking about? Let’s tease out some story from this.

A character effectively developed is believable. The audience travels with the ALM guide because they can relate to him, his struggles and aspirations have been offered and accepted by the audience. They don’t need to agree with him or even like him to go along on his journey, they just have to get him. Search the posts for “guide” for more background on this.

Andrea made the point that Dan Kelly can’t be a detached observer. Who would believe that a detached observer would fix buy a 16 foot cat and sail 1000 miles searching for artifacts of a survivable future? That sounds slightly passionate if not a obviously nuts. This character is motivated by something more compelling than reports on CNN, he is acting from his gut. He may be delusional, but his direct experience has galvanized action.

Of course the audience should look to their own experience, absolutely. That’s what makes character development possible. It’s tricky to ask for that in the premise though, there’s just not enough time. All we need to do is communicate that this is Dan Kelly’s premise, and illustrate how he acquired it.

Now the pitch starts like this… There’s this guy who believes (insert premise). Well – that’s interesting, how did he come to believe that? Cue character development.

The character development will illustrate how this guy’s direct experience – a heady brew of ecstatic physicality, presence with wilderness, speculative storytelling, an affinity for science and intuitive mysticism intoxicated him with the premise.

If the character makes a robust commit to act on his direct experience, that will be an example for others to attend to and act on theirs… and we’ve made a training film.

In conclusion, deconstructing the premise is a useful exercise. The character Dan Kelly has an epic bent. He has a strong feeling that earth and her human inhabitants are facing a crucial moment. Does he conjure the threat of annihilation to spice an otherwise dreary RL existence? Is he tilting at windmills? There’s no story without conflict, right?

Frodo lives!

Meeting 10-03-06 ondesire landing page

We’ve had two dream team meetings, in Brooklyn (Faisal, Erica and Dan) and last Saturday in Beulah (Steve Elrick, Melonie, Jonathan, Lucas Kelly and Dan).

Inviting collaboration and contribution was the focus of Saturday’s meeting. Components of the ask package for fundraising were presented and discussed. Our collective web presence, including project blogs like http://ondesire.com and contractor blogs (http://meloniesteffes.com and http://jonathankellyarts.com) are key. We reviewed the design of the landing page for http://ondesire.com and discussed what our expectations are for it.

Melonie – The silhouette image of Dan on Hello World looks “girly”. It’s the first thing I think about when I see this page.

Dan – This is because the camera pack on his left side  gives an impression of wide hips which combined with the long hair  makes the image a little confusing.


Is it disturbing or discordant to visitors? Some testing is needed. It’s possible to either switch out this picture or try to ps the camera pack out. Might not be a bad idea to broaden my shoulders and add an ornate cod piece while were at it.

Jonathan – I’d like to see a link to the latest news, so that folks can jump to immediately to the last 5-6 posts.


The simplest solution is a link to all posts. The most recent will show up first.

Melonie – “Desire – the crux of human experience.” That’s important, it should be a headline or bigger.

Dan – “You are here” was intended to give a sense of place, suggesting maps and geography. We can repurpose this for the maps area.


Replace “You are Here” with the crux of human experience” to give it more prominence and simplify the page. Move you are here to the maps page.

Dan – On Desire was conceived as a container for many projects, Around Lake Michigan being one of them. Currently, ALM is the only project in there, so it needs to be more prominent.


On the sidebar, move Events up to the top and all the ondesire.com background down to the bottom. Perhaps move the background out of the sidebar totally.

Jonathan – The archives take a lot of real estate, be good to move them farther down the sidebar so it’s less cluttered up top.

Dan – Not sure that’s possible. If we had a little WP magic we could link to a separate page where the archives could live. Look into it.  A benefit of the archives being on the sidebar is it demonstrates project longevity.


Investigate whether archives become a landing page link?

Dan – Perhaps Dan and Hello World are the vanguard for a wave of expeditions worldwide, perhaps one objective is to inspire other expeditions. ALM could be a demonstration on how to look for artifacts of a survivable future. How could the site be an aggregator for artifacts? Searchers could report discoveries by…

writing a letter / email

leaving a phone message

sending audio or video recordings – youtube, vimeo etc.

Steve – what about incorporating song writing? Steve relates a recent effort to rewrite the lyrics of Route 66 to fit the sights along M22. Could this be worked into ALM? Would song writers and performers be inspired with images of trip geography?

Dan – I really wanted to bring my guitar with me last September, the idea of a giant song writing quilt is awesome. Lucas and Melonie are both making music too, Steve sings so maybe we already have a strong base.

What other ideas can we deploy for hooking the general public into the project?


Who could organize  and manage the music project? How would it work? What’s our protocol for integrating new artifacts, a resource for contributing must be developed.

Melonie – Right now the project is the Dan show. We need more artifacts up ASAP.

Dan – absolutely. We have some great material.


Priority – put up other interviews.

Dan – The premise, the pitch. We know that a sustainable civilization is coming because if it doesn’t show up, we (human beings) are doomed. Since we all expect to survive, a survivable civilization must emerge within the next 10 – 15 years. That means it must be already coming together, it must be in the process of emerging.  We can can expect to find fragments and partially assembled components everywhere, right now. These artifacts of a future survivable civilization can be discovered and shared, growing awareness globally. That is the objective of Around Lake Michigan.

Jonathan – What’s the proof that we are doomed? That reminds me of mainstream media’s fear mongering and exaggeration which makes intelligent folks are allergic.

Dan – maybe “doom” switched to “things getting really unpleasant,” (wink, nod). Kind of under-promising approach.

Jonathan – Showing change from past to present, activate personal observation.

Melonie – focus on the good stuff, spreading the solutions


A 15 second premise video could be the first thing that visitors encounter.

Jonathan – we need definitions on the site, like xroll, civilizations and artifacts.


Build a project dictionary or a wikitionary

Dan – How do you guys feel about the process of blogging?

Melonie – an old friend found me through my website, I was embarrassed. the first thing I thought was I hope he didn’t read my blog.

Jonathan – I am posting technical stuff because I don’t feel very creative right now. When writing about technical issues, there’s a lot of overhead involved in explaining something simple. Saying exactly what I want, a process of taking stuff away.

Melonie – What about exploring your feelings about the project?

Dan – We will continue to blog, because it’s very powerful to look into ourselves and express what we are becoming. It’s very helpful for our development as artists and for our ability to communicate clearly – to each other and to the world at large. It’s an investment in ourselves.  Melonie’s reaction is very telling, why should we be embarrassed about our own thoughts and feelings? What’s the matter with developing a public presence? Is that ego or just sharing? An open project means we share our lessons and discoveries.


Steve and Lucas can be encouraged to launch showcase sites with Jonathan and Melonie’s help. Jonathan and Melonie write a 1 or 2 paragraph premise – why writing and sharing my journey makes sense for me, or if it did make sense for me, why would it?

ATD facilitators

On December 13, 2008 I attended an Awakening the Dreamer symposium at Boricua College with Melanie Ida Chopko, aka Melonie Amazing. On Valentines Day weekend 2010, I trained with 34 others to be a symposium facilitator.

Fuzzy pix of the Valentine Watershed facilitators and trainers. February 12 -14, 2010

The symposium is a fascinating blend of modalities designed to activate waves of sleepy and disillusioned humans and deploy them to save our collective butts. Imagine bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet. Here’s the recipe…

2-30 new participants (the audience)
1-3  facilitators / presenters
AV equipment, DVDs
the script

The script is the key ingredient. It’s authored by various manifestations of local consciousness collectively known as Earth – aka Mother Earth, Gaia and Pachamama. Because of it’s unique origins the script acts like an energy pipe, connecting the audience directly to our fabulous starship’s forgotten super computer. This is not immediately obvious to the audience (and even some of the facilitators) as the script appears to be an ordinary stack of papers in a 3 ring binder.

If this sounds nutty then you are definitely reading the wrong blog.

In a largish room combine all ingredients for about 2-5 hours. This is called the symposium. Include non gmo snacks and drinks.

The facilitators offer the script to the audience, either by reciting it verbatim, rephrasing it into their own words or reading it directly from the binder. The results are the same regardless of how the script is offered – most of the audience enjoys a restored connection to planetary consciousness, enabling the conversion of their frustration and angst into great reservoirs of survival savvy.  Powerful shifts towards a sustainable, just and fulfilling human presence, perfectly adapted to local conditions, manifests within months. A sense of community pervades.

Some members of the audience will demonstrate a strong desire for the script. A couple of days of additional exposure will make them facilitators.  As new facilitators emerge, symposiums become more numerous and the process accelerates. A note about facilitators… angels in sackcloth, misfits and mad poets all make excellent facilitators, but there’s really no ideal type. Advertising executives and soccer moms/dads, elementary students, retirees, stock brokers – basically any articulate human has the capacity to facilitate.


Last night my nephew texted me about my weekend of environmental training – what was it all about? I passed him the ATD trailer link but he was still baffled. I didn’t know what to tell him, how to give the gestalt. Hence the above post, my first independent assimilation exercise. ‘Script’ is my shorthand by the way, ATD folks call it the symposium materials.

Here’s one highlight. 34 of us spent the weekend working through the material and on the last day we broke into groups to practice presenting.  Nancy, Majandra, Keith, Darelyn and myself worked with Geri. As we took turns presenting, our unique talents and gifts were suddenly activated. We stumbled over the text and gaffed a bit, but underneath it all there was resonance. We had an enhanced quality of presence, we were upgraded.

Keith and I talked it over afterwards – it was the Earth. I have been actively practicing flowing Earth energy, feeling alive, being an Earth agent – but this was a new experience. The pages and pages of symposium material are the Mother’s point of presence. It’s not mere human gabble, science this and opinion that. It’s a direct connection, something I thought only existed in wilderness. My fellow presenters and I were amplified by offering it. Earth can speak to us directly, using actual symbolic language. Earth can make it’s own memes. Damn!


I scanned and posted the audience feedback cards within a week of the Evening of Exploration, but over a month went by before I read and sorted them into categories. Why did it take so long? This question triggered a small crisis – Am I loosing momentum on the ALM project? Do I have a plan? What have I accomplished in the 3 months since the end of the trip?

This is one of those exciting blog moments where I have to grope around for a bit. Flashback!

October – December 2009

In early October Hello World and I returned home with about 30 hours of HD video. During the next two weeks I converted the video, shot a visual inventory and edited Evolution, the repair and packing sequence. I sorted, cleaned and stored all the gear. Hitching a ride back to Brooklyn with my brother Steve on 10/20, I settled down to catalog the video and post excerpts to the ondesire blog. Was there a feature length documentary lurking in there somewhere?  In theory, a methodical review of the raw material would allow major themes to percolate.

Watching the video and seeing all the folks who supported ALM started me fantasizing about throwing a big party. I also wanted to introduce more of my Northern Michigan tribe to the project and expand it’s audience. I imagined organizing an event around a rough cut of the movie and including structured feedback both to foster interaction and create a sense of participation. I was planning to return to to Northern Michigan for Thanksgiving anyway, maybe a month was enough time to plan an event and cut a rough…

The Evening of Exploration was born!

Turns out that 1 month was not enough time to become familiar with all the footage, edit something coherent AND organize / promote a public exhibition. I dedicated a lot of energy to getting the theater filled – repeatedly emailing the scattered tribe, blogging, creating enticing imagery and composing press releases. To expand and diversify the audience, I invited Gretchen Eichberger to present choreography and the ukulele duo Saldaje (Melonie Steffes and Shawn Anchak) to play music. The price I paid for a nearly full theater was less time for editing.

Sweating bullets that the bumpy NYC to Chicago Amtrak ride would ding the stack of sata hard drives humming at my feet, I finally found a decent introduction – only four days before the Evening. My brother and sister helped me hash out a protocol for audience feedback in the rental car from Chicago to Beulah. Over the holiday, I grappled with the stark realization that my rough cut would NOT be the kernel of a coherent structure, but rather a smorgasbord of loosely connected ideas.

The Evening was fun and I reconnected with many excellent people. My original objectives were achieved to varying degrees…

Celebrate those who helped with the project

Seeing themselves onscreen often makes folks excited. Just being invited to a special event is nice too, especially if there’s food and  interesting art. I could’ve done a better job of recognizing the collaborators if the movie had credits and / or if I mentioned specific names during my introduction. Basically, that didn’t happen because I ran out of time.

Connect regional folks to the project, build community support and awareness

It’s been over a month since the evening, so if I am planning on following up and consolidating this audience, I had better do it in the next couple of days. The evening did facilitate a productive feedback session with Steve Elrick. Also, a fantastic new friend and ally has appeared as a direct result of the Evening’s intense promotion. Andrea Maio is a film maker who missed the Evening but tracked me down after. We had a blast hanging out and she has since decided to relocate to Benzie County. I’ll be linking to her blog as soon as it’s up. Finally, Susan Koenig wrote an article about the Evening that may or may not have appeared in the Benzie Record Patriot, I’m still waiting to hear.

Get some structured feedback

I threw a variety of material at the audience, curious only to know what stood out, what made an impression. My feedback protocol wasn’t all that rigorous because the editing had barely begun. The responses were useful, the same five moments were mentioned by 52% of the audience. Several folks disregarded my instructions and offered detailed advice about editing and some even felt compelled to trot out their personal angst… awesome! I am so grateful for the responses, the only people I have a beef with are those that didn’t bother to fill out cards – like my brother and father. Geez, relatives can be a real pain.

Deadline motivates

Setting an intense deadline was both good and bad.

Rather than taking that the time to move methodically through the video, I was forced to slam together disparate fragments just to have something to show. This deferred the real edit process by a month. As the Evening got closer, I felt very scattered and struggled to let go of my expectations. I fretted that telling a disjointed story would actually deter the audience from following ALM’s progress. Key elements of the event were scaled down or abandoned because time was tight.

I am only now recovering from the trauma of promising a little too much.  Deadlines are productive only when matched to specific outcomes well within the range of the possible. Deadlines can have an element of risk, they can stretch our identity and push our personal envelope – a little. Finessing the balance between what we are and what we want to be is the art of the setting deadlines. It’s wise to take an inventory of variables first – how many new things will have happen at once? Even for a turbo charged polymath, attempting more than 2 new things is asking for trouble.

The Evening would have been a better if I had conceptualized the event as presenting ‘selected excerpts’, rather than promising a ‘rough cut’. The problem was in my own mind, most folks don’t know the difference between selected excerpts and a rough cut anyway. Crazy expectations caused me to wig out.

December 2009 – January 2o1o

I whiled away another 2 weeks in Beulah before renting a Hyundai and returning to Brooklyn. Once back, I bit the bullet and dropped $2000 on 20 x 1 TB hard drives for cloning my archive. I need about 6 drives more to finish, but at least now I can travel with ALM. I finally tallied the feedback results and posted some comments. Andrea suggested a new tack for the project that I like. I’ve been reorganizing the blogs in preparation for the next push and feel the power flowing back. So maybe I am not groping anymore.

Catagories from Evening of Exploration

I’ve finally gone through the response cards from the Evening of Exploration and tallied the results. Admittedly, asking for ‘the most memorable moment’ was not a very rigorous approach to feedback but then the Evening of Exploration was about more than feedback. The primary objective was to gather the Northern Michigan arts community together and introduce them to the project. Also, setting an intense deadline was intended to amp up my post-production process.

I’ll do a more rigorous evaluation of the Evening and it’s objectives later, but for now let’s look at the responses. Of the 86 cards, there were about 131 different moments mentioned, including advice about editing and other random critique. Let’s keep it simple and concentrate on the top 5 moments, which are mentioned in 52% of the total responses. The top five break down as follows…

  • 32% (positive) Tanya and Homegrown
  • 20% (mostly positive, several strong objections) Cherry pit spitting monolog
  • 18% (positive) Hello World repair and packing sequence
  • 15% (positive) Rich Branstrom – builds things from trash, influences others
  • 15% (positive) Ray Minervini – cities for cars, not for people


I haven’t spoken with Chris and Tanya Winkelmann of Homegrown since November and I’m excited to let Tanya know that she stole the show. Some might think that organic food is old news, but the Winkelmanns’ story illustrates that it’s not, that education about the integrity of our food supply is vital. Tanya and Chris’s story is not only about edible education, but also “action instead of just thought or talk”. Indeed. Of the top five moments, Tanya’s interview grabbed 1/3 of attention.

Cherry Pit Spitting Monolog

The cherry pit spitting monolog came in second with mixed reviews. Several folks objected (strongly) to me talking with my mouth full! Love it. My intention was to break up the heavy ponderings with a little visual comedy and emphasize rather than minimize the cherry pit spitting. For the record, I don’t think I actually thought this through on location – I was just having breakfast and doing my usual on camera update. I had happened to put some wild cherries into my porridge.

The critical feedback helped me realize that I am not communicating how much work the Search for Sustainable Civilizations was. I ate while filming because there were only so many hours in the day and finding a way to combine two activities was a boon. I have to give more context – during the cherry pit spitting breakfast I was totally worn out and sore from sailing the day before. It’s not that I want sympathy from the audience but based on the almost angry comments about proper manners folks don’t get that my choices were constrained, that I was wiped out. Most of the positive comments focused on the content of the monolog, which is encouraging.

Hello World Evolution

My new filmmaker friend Andrea described the Hello World evolution sequence as my sparkling personality showing through. I am pleased that it worked for the audience because I put some solid time into the edit – I think it reflects my pleasure as an editor. It’s got several elements that I like – maker ethic, comedy, excitement and an epic feeling thanks to Gustav Holst. I actually see it as something of a placeholder for a more polished sequence, so it’s really encouraging to know that it’s getting high marks already. As a side note, the rest of Andrea’s comment goes like this, (paraphrase)… “in contrast to the Hello World sequence, your actual on camera monologs don’t really reflect how charming and funny you are in real life.” Gotta love that gal.

Ritch Branstrom, Adhoc workshop

Ritch was actually mentioned for more than trash art, so I broke the comments referring to him into categories. He made it to the top five for all the mentions of junk artist. Some folks also wrote about his energy or how well comes across as a character. Frankly as cinematographer and editor, I’ve got to take credit for his on screen vibe… through the magic of cinema, I made him seem like an amazing guy – another triumph of art over reality. Kidding! Ritch really IS amazing, honest.

Ray Minervini

Ray Minervini made an impression on folks with his “cities are designed for cars and not for people” line. That really seemed to resonate. Ray was really able to paint a picture with words and folks got it.

healing through food, homegrown, mission, children sick, chemicals in food, action instead of just thought and talk 22
breakfast and spitting cherry pits, hate the old, fear of nature (naive I) musings reached a rhythm of their own, timelessness of wilderness, cherries “into the wild” – scared (not enjoyable to see even a handsome man with mouth full of oatmeal I) (humor overwhelms the deep point you are trying to make I) (the spitting again and again was an insult to audience I) 13
gear packing and boat repair 12
Rich Branstrom – power, builds things from trash, influences others 11
Ray Minervini cities designed for automobiles and not for people, parking lots, building permits 10
Rich Branstrom – energy is pure, like his energy, medium for power in the world (cut it I) 7
monologs, rambling went on long enough to be memorable, long winded 5
the end – poetry incarnate, laying in the grass 4
extensive and specific advice on editing 4
practical interconnectedness of all things, (men who ride moutains) 4
big wave day, totally on (men who ride moutains) 3
interviews 2
earth from space 2
dan eating 2
mir space station 2
to exist is totally up to each of us, sustainability 2
going forward or turning around, terrible accident 2
more overarching narrative, where did you go and why? 2
larry – humans are renewable resource 2
like to see route outlined, don’t expect your audience to know the geography of michigan 2
me and gwen at bird bath 2
interviews at schooner festival 1
recycling 1
opening sequence, short statements 1
water 1
need more interaction between interviewer and interviewee 1
north manitou  quiet 1
choose a design and stick to it 1
face of the horse (deer) Rich Branstrom 1
straight talk about how we live on the planet 1
dan yawns makes audience yawn 1
less eating when you film 1
find people who don’t know you and don’t smoke weed for outside perspective 1
i suggest you study documentary 1
flame fluttering 1
(offered help and collaboration on the project) 1

Homegrown Organic Eatery

A feature film in 5 days? A engaging, edifying, feature film in 5 days? How much sencha green tea will it take?

Finally, the video the network has been clamoring for! The dynamic duo of digestion, Chris and Tanya Winkelman and the origins of Homegrown. It all started with a breakfast burrito the day after arriving in Grand Traverse Bay.

09-09-13 Chris and Tanya Winkelman Homegrown (newer OS)
09-09-13 Chris and Tanya Winkelman Homegrown (older OS)

The cost of sailing

Just before launching last month, I took some pictures of the waste generated from Hello World’s renovation. Getting her ready required power, raw material and room in the landfill. Around Lake Michigan is a search for sustainable civilizations that utilized unsustainable technologies. That’s seems contradictory, was ALM a sham?

Renovating this boat took resources, it had a footprint. Was it a large or a small footprint? Until the final budget is tallied, there’s no real data to examine. That should be ready in the next few days, but in the meantime, I’ll elaborate on the premise.

Big Bear points out that wind turbine and solar panel factories are powered by coal and nuclear plants. That’s a significant footprint. He also suggests that solar panels cannot break even, they can never generate enough electricity to pay for their cost. If one takes into account their carbon and toxic cost as well as their monetary price, he might just be right. I don’t know. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that there was such a thing as a profitable solar panel, that after 10 years of operation, it would pay it’s total cost (carbon, toxic, monetary) back twice. That would mean that the panel paid for itself and paid for a second panel. If that were possible, wouldn’t it make sense to make these panels? We would be investing energy to make more energy, rather than just burning it up.

Hello World is an experiment and a sort of calculation. I create a solar powered transportation platform (sailboat) with a finite investment of energy and materials while generating a byproduct of garbage and carbon. I then sail 300 miles making minimal additional impact, finding and documenting low impact or perhaps even sustainable technologies and strategies. What would have to happen for Around Lake Michigan to break even and pay back the inital investment? If I never sail Hello World again, if I never find anything of value or I never share the documentation, what did those 300 miles cost? How far would I have to sail to make a ‘profit’? What would I need to find?

Perhaps just the process of calculation and accountability is enough of a discovery. We tend to think that sailboats and solar panels are easy on the earth, same goes for organic food and compact florescent bulbs. We shirk our responsibility by embracing generalizations rather than actually finding out for ourselves. It’s the training we’ve been given since birth – buy stuff. That’s the plug we’ve got to pull.

Anyway, I’m going through the posts and fleshing them out. The video is fully digested and ready to edit and post. Can’t wait to see where it’s all gonna go!


Phase 1 of Around Lake Michigan is complete. The overview – 300 miles of sailing in about 30 days, 50+ hours of video recorded including travel and interviews, plenty of low/no impact camping, many new friends, 20,000 hits on the blog and no arrests, tickets or injuries.

It’s a few days since my return and I’m unpacking gear, sorting out the video and deciphering my notes. In the next couple of weeks I’ll review what I’ve accomplished and learned in detail. Specifically, I want to look at equipment – what worked, what didn’t and what was missing, such as a waterproof housing for the camera with fixed mounting points for hands free recording in heavy weather.

The overall approach to documenting is worth looking at too. I’ve an enhanced appreciation for the amount of effort needed – planning and scheduling a documentary film, shooting the film, sailing between 4 – 8 hours a day, packing and unpacking a boat and blogging. That’s a lot of stuff to do. It will be fun to discuss how this all flowed.

Packing and cargo strategies are significant – where does everything go, how quickly can the boat be packed and unpacked, do items need to be dry, how can packs be shifted to balance the boat while sailing? How would cargo be recovered if the boat flipped? I often spent hours getting ready to launch in the morning, is there any way to speed this up?.

Looking over the blog, it’s fairly skeletal. It’s a little tough to follow along, a chart showing my route would have been ideal. 90% of the video has yet to be posted.

So while the computer churns away, turning Vixia video into something I can edit, there’s plenty to think about.

Yin and Yang


at anchor

Even a sailboat has an environmental cost. Rebuilding Hello World was intended as a low impact project, not a sustainable project as I defined it a few days ago. Not only was electricity and petroleum poured into the tools, lights and vehicles supporting the repairs, but waste was produced. The steel paint and acetone cans can be recycled and the 30 year old grinder can be dropped off at an electronics recycling box. The big bag of garbage and the vacuum cleaner bags full of fiberglass dust however are destined for the landfill. About 35 lbs of waste was generated to renovate 300 lbs of 30 year old sailboat. About 4 – 6 ounces of fiberglass / mineral dust and and a gallon of VOCs escaped into open air.

Once the entire budget has been tallied I’ll be able to make a wild guess at the carbon cost of the project.

Big Bear makes the point that wind turbine and solar panel factories are powered by coal fired and nuclear power plants and therefor wind and solar power are far from sustainable. Is anything we do sustainable? Do we have any technologies that are in accord with the global life support system?

Search for Sustainable Civilizations

Queue voice over by Rod Serling or Leonard Nimoy… not Twilight Zone or Star Trek, but the 70′s Cousteau docs of Serling’s and the 80s ‘In Search Of’ series hosted by Nimoy. Sustainable Civilizations has a mythic ring. They are not lost in the hoary past like some lame Indiana Jones sequel but rather waiting for us in an alternate future, a misty maybe world we must bring into razor sharp focus. It’s epic in the sense that we are running out of time. If we don’t find a path to a highly sustainable reality lickity split, we’re gonna suffer some serious trauma and maybe worse – extinction. No amount of military spending can protect you from a crippled global life support system. If you really love your grandchildren, change your life style. And so on.

Can we peer into the mists and make out some outlines of a sustainable human scenario? How would we change and will it be fun? What do we really want anyway? The tie in between our desire and our destiny is solid, what we want or think we want determines what we move toward.

I like wilderness. My personal mission is…

Activating global consciousness to steward and expand the wilds.

The way I see it, the global life support system includes the atmosphere, oceans, plants, algae, fungus, wild animals of all stripes, volcanos, rocks… It is certainly quite ancient, very sophisticated and complex – regardless whether one believes it’s designed by natural selection or a personal god.

The current configuration of cities, suburbs and strip malls and their associated infrastructure are probably not contributing to the proper function of the global life support system. That’s why my mission bucks the inevitable trend of building more stuff – I want to expand the wilds. Why? Because the wilds comprise an efficacious global life support system. When the earth has dominion over the land and seas, you can count on breathable air, potable water and reasonable temperatures. Human occupation and management as it’s currently configured hasn’t worked out all that well in the long term.

If you meet someone who doubts that humans can influence the global climate, check their stock portfolio. Chances are there’s some fossil fuel or uranium investments, probably defense industries too. Think about it – 6 billion people is a huge force, especially when augmented by machines. Is there anything we can’t do? Altering the climate of an entire planet? Childs play.

Relying on a government / corporate driven tech fix is not an option – some bogus half assed boondoggle porkbarrel scam slathered with a thick icky sweet icing of propagandertainment. Let’s just give it back to the ultimate technology, the 4 billion year old supra genius mutha. Let HER bring it back online for heavens sake, before it’s too late.

If you’ve been checking in at On Desire, you know I am not one of those ‘human beings are a cancer’ type. I’m not advocating ‘kill all humans’. For me it’s about figuring out how we fit into the global life support system.

We can take a little tech with us, certainly. Landing on the moon was cool, but for my money the best thing we’ve come up with lately is the internet. It’s a mostly harmless way to stimulate the brain and other parts. It’s got a footprint, but it get’s us all connected in a way that works for me. We can collaborate directly. I vote to keep the internet.

So it’s not about having 6 billion farmers either. Sustainable civilizations are a mystery we can solve, but it’s going to be much more juicy, enigmatic and elegant than anything yet described by the mainstream media. It’s to funky for the hollywood formula. We’ve got to make it, ourselves. We’ve got to do it together.

How does this apply to Around Lake Michigan? I am creating a bit of a spectacle with the lowest impact tools currently at my disposal, a sustainable moon landing or Jacques-Yves Cousteau riff. It’s a little kooky, it’s Dan Kelly style. Asking the right questions is what this is about, asking as if I expect there to be an answer. Ask questions in that way and the hazy horizon get’s a little bit brighter.

Rainy preparations

This morning I pop riveted the stern/port trampoline casting that Chuck welded yesterday. I’ve got more riveting to do after I apply some adhesive to the mast base, but it’s wet out there – raining. I’ll go into town to buy the adhesive and bring the mast into the garage to dry, or most of it anyway – it’s huge.

Today’s post is a sort of thinking out loud, a rehearsal for what I am about to do.

Yesterday, I heard on NPR Science Friday that multitasking actually impairs the brain permanently – yikes! I’ve mulled that over and have since refined my approach to this project. There are scads of things to do before I go, and up until yesterday I’ve been into several of them at once. This is generally essential because the tasks are interdependent – one task can only progress so far before it begins to blend into another. The insight is that I can physically handle only one task at a time, so it’s best to try and focus on one thing exclusively until it’s time to switch, avoiding distractions. This requires developing a quality priority list showing which tasks are dependent on others. If that list is well constructed, the process of doing and switching is very effective.

I scribbled a list around mid July as a riff on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… survival, safety, etc.


Here’s a revised hierarchy from the shamanic perspective…


A $400 Hobie Cat, eh? That’s what I bought it for in May, with a trailer! A week later, (after a full inventory), it turned out there were no blocks for the main and jib. The seller, Alan Vigland, had no idea what happened to the blocks when I called to inquire. Ok, so already the budget is creeping up. Preparing a 30 year old Hobie Cat for a 1000 mile voyage on a great lake has already cost more than 6 times the price of the boat, not including labor. The total budget can be useful for estimating the project footprint, like the calculations for the carbon cost of making a 747 jet – what If we spent the cost of the 747 on gasoline and burned it all up, how much carbon would that produce? This method is probably very inaccurate for estimating the carbon cost of materials, but at least it can get us thinking about the multiple costs of the things we buy. There’s the price we pay in dollars and then there’s the price the earth pays for mining, drilling, manufacturing, transport, etc.

Hull repairs and restructuring
07/15/09 Sears – vacuum cleaner bags $11.65
07/15/09 West Marine – West Systems guide books, Gel Coat and Fiberglass boat repair $11.64
07/28/09 Fiberlay – 3 yards of 38″ biaxial and matte glass knit ~$60 (2nd day air)
07/30/09 West Marine – West Systems epoxy resin, hardener and support products $235.73
08/05/09 Shop and Save – surgical gloves 30 pair and latex 1 pair $5.30
08/07/09 Shop and Save – paper towel and wax paper $2.50
08/09/09 Sears – nitril gloves, 100 pair $15.89
08/09/09 West Marine – Interlux primer and 2 quarts white, tape and collodial silica $183.85

subtotal $526.56

New sails and rigging
07/15/09 Whirlwind Sails – X2 Main and jib $1300
07/15/09 Baolong fenders x 4 $120
07/21/09 Bluewater Sails – Trampoline and hiking straps replacement $90
00/00/00 shroud set $100
00/00/00 blocks $100
00/00/00 tiller $40
00/00/00 spare rudder $200

subtotal $1950.00

total 2476.56

Even though I am not using any gasoline when I am sailing around the lake, I have produced some carbon in fixing up the boat so I could sail around the lake – and a bag of garbage too. Reduced footprint maybe, sustainability no. Dave Hart is doing some serious sustainability research. With a little luck we can get him to talk about it.

Hobie repairs begin in earnest

I’ve been moving tentatively on the hull repairs for the Hobie 16 because it’s scary. Grinding down gelcoat and fiberglass generates clouds of hazardous dust. There’s the expense of buying all the epoxy product to do the repair, not to mention the associated footprint.  It’s not clear how much trouble I’m getting into. The issues seem manageable but then I’ve had limited fiberglass and no boat repair experience. Finally, there’s the possibility of screwing up and either 1) compromising the structural integrity of the hulls or 2) not getting done in time. We had to scrub Hawaii, Around Lake Michigan is scheduled to begin after Whirlwind delivers the new sails, no later than August 7 +/- 1 day.

A crack in the gelcoat? NOT!

A 'crack' in the gelcoat - NOT!

In the past couple of weeks I researched repair techniques, upgraded and acquired tools and finally ordered or picked up most of the materials. With all this afoot I forgot about the sailing rockstar that I am collaborating with and the whole point of blogging. Kai has done all kinds of crazy repairs, he’s a wealth of knowledge. The rest of you can’t taste the intensity of the moment unless I am posting my process. So, without further eloquence – restoration!

Significant delamination with spacetime distortion, (note curved ruler).

Significant delamination with spacetime distortion, (note curved ruler).

After grinding some of the problem areas on the starboard hull I was less reluctant to investigate a crack on the port hull. With a precision screwdriver, I pried gently at the edge of the crack and popped off a chunk of fiberglass, exposing the foam core. Significant delamination!

Here’s a super quick tutorial. Cloth woven from glass fiber is saturated with a mixture of liquid resin and hardener. The resin and hardener react chemically (cure) to form a rigid and super tough plastic.

The sides and tops of the Hobie’s hulls have a sandwich construction -  a layer of foam between two thin layers of fiberglass.


This double skin make Hobie hulls strong. The outer fiberglass skin is coated with gelcoat, another curing mixture sans fibers that acts like a thick paint.

A famous feature of Hobie cats is that they can be sailed up onto the beach. For single hulled boats with keels that’s usually a disaster. Younger sailors skid their Hobies out of the water and on the sand at high speed, I know I did. As a result the bottoms of Hobie hulls can get pretty scraped up, especially if the beaches they sailed up onto were rocky.

Hard impacts either on land or water can also break the fiberglass. In the cleaning and inspection post I posted an image of damage to the starboard hull’s stern, probably from a trailer mishap.

Even a gently handled and accident free Hobie hull can have problems. When the fiberglass is initially cured, not all of the resin and hardener reacts, leaving tiny pockets of liquid in the cured material. Water can migrate into these pockets and get trapped, forming acids which eat away at surrounding solid. Eventually so much water gets trapped and the surrounding material is so weakened that it bulges out, ripping apart the sandwich. This is called delamination. The crack in the above photo may have started as an impact left unrepaired.

Let’s backtrack a bit and set the stage. This is a major physicality moment, let’s savor it.

The garage wasn’t too cluttered until I showed up in May with 20 boxes of crap from Brooklyn. Though daunting I processed it all, even locating a recycling company to pick up the styrene from all the old computer boxes I had in storage. With the decks cleared for action, I could strategize on the mess that restoration would generate. Rather than cover the entire inside of the garage with plastic, I decided to build an isolation tent with my favorite hex pipe system – I call it LEGOs for adults. $200+ for 60 ft of galvanized 1-1/4 inch pipe, not to mention the hex connectors which I always keep in stock, probably another $60. Add another $10 for some heavy plastic I had stashed away and some duct tape.

Galvanized pipes and the port hull
Cleared for action
Cleared for action
Starboard hull in the tanning booth
Starboard hull in the tanning booth

The cleaning and inspection yielded some interesting issues. The top row of pictures are likely just cosmetic patching the gelcoat though some fiberglass might have to be removed and replaced if it’s been damaged.

Scrapes near the bow, from beaching on stones
hull bottom near bow shows glass, lots of fast beaching
Exposed fiberglass and gelcoat scrapes
hull bottom with horizontal gel coat scrapes
Bow - first contact when sailing onto beach
Bow – first contact when sailing onto beach
A crack in the gelcoat? NOT!
A crack in the gelcoat? NOT!
This dark spot has a drip stain running out - acid?
This dark spot has a drip stain running out – acid?
Flipped near stern, gelcoat chunk mysteriously missing
Flipped near stern, gelcoat chunk mysteriously missing

The second row are more sinister issues. The left most picture is a repeat of the bulging crack before I popped off the delaminated fiberglass. The second is an impact mark with a discolored drip stain running out of it. Could this be the action of acid formed from trapped water? If so the damage is likely to be far more than the crayon indicates. The third is from the stern of the starboard hull, a big chuck of gelcoat is missing and the fiberglass is exposed, but there doesn’t seem to be any impact trama nearby. Recalling the trailer accident, this gelcoat could have been poorly bonded and popped off during the impact that broke the glass around the rudder. That’s not the half of it. After inverting the starboard hull on horses in the garage, water began weeping out of the gelcoat hole. After two weeks of sitting high and dry, I found a little puddle there this morning!

The water puddle extends to the left of the arrow.
It’s hard to see, but the brown stain is standing water seeping out of the hole. It’s dry everywhere else. The water is coming from UNDER the gelcoat. BAD.

To put all this into context, here’s a clever shot of me looking competent. One can hardly tell that I’m holding the camera with the other hand. The point is that I’ll need this boat to be structurally bulletproof before I take her out for 1000 miles of fun on the big lake. My life might depend on getting this right… whee!

My life depends on this

Here’s some shots of the excavations.

There's wood underneath

There's wood underneath

A gelcoat ding goes deep

A gelcoat ding goes deep

A nickle size hole in the outer glass and foam. The inner skin feels solid.

Removed outer glass and foam. The inner skin feels solid.

Checking glass along the bottom

Checking glass structure where bottom was scraped.

Borrowed my brother's Fordham with footswitch, sweet!

Borrowed my brother's Fordham with footswitch, sweet!

Art shot of bow jutting out of the tent

Art shot of bow jutting out of the tent. Gotta dig the Century Optics wide angle.

So back to it, more pictures as events unfold.

Riposte – sustainability isn’t an abstraction

I was just commenting on Telemetry 090630 and I realized my comment was worthy of it’s own post. Kai and I are a few steps past this now, but you can’t practice fundamentals too much.

> It seems, for ideological reasons as he won’t fly in a jet due to it’s carbon footprint.
> I can respect his convictions though I don’t fully adopt them as my own.

It’s all Jeff Gibb’s fault! Well, Al Gore too, but for opposite reasons. I ramble about this all over the site, start with these dubious calculations…


At the risk of ranting, here’s my riposte. I can’t count on governments or corporations to do what’s right by me and by the earth. The only way to change anything is to get conscious and take personal responsibility for my actions – identify my most harmful behaviors and stop doing them.

The ends don’t justify the means. On Desire is not a worthy project if we have to act in destructive ways to accomplish it. Unless you are Kai Schwarz, getting to Hawaii sustainably ain’t easy. He can do it because he’s got the skills and knowledge to get on boats or sail his own. I could probably get on boats by leveraging my production skills and starting earlier on the research.

Granted, there are cruise ships that make the passage a few months out of the year, but because there is theoretically less carbon footprint riding a cruise ship, the cash cost is higher! Most folks who want to go to Hawaii HAVE to ride jets. Hawaii’s tourist industry is a frikkin’ carbon factory.

Sustainability isn’t an abstract concept. What does a small footprint look like? For one thing, it’s small!

Elements of Style

Dan here! Those of you reading On Desire so far may be annoyed with my quirky and often obtuse writing style. With the delivery of the Macbook Pro two days ago, Kai is in the process of coming online and catching up with his posts. I’d love to find a competent and courageous editor to svelte up our ramblings. In the meantime it is with great humility and not a little trepidation that I attempt to edit my colleague’s writing. This could mean the end of the entire project…

The editing process provides insights about blog protocols and standards that we can all apply. Steeped in usability issues during my days as an interface designer, I try to take a reader friendly approach to writing.

After grappling with Kai’s first page for an hour or two, I retired to the bathtub to re-read the first 15 pages of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. I think I’m finally savvy enough to get the E of S message. Whether I actually apply it’s directives only time will tell. To all On Desire bloggers – make life easy for the reader – apply Elements of Style!

An aside – I think my fondness for code and working with complex software like Final Cut Pro and After Effects has set me up. Language is an artistic encryption. Crafting language is problem solving – how to make an idea clear and concise, how to provide the reader with an efficient workflow. Last night I re-enacted Archimedes by fusing hot water, a geeky past, Elements of Style, and, of course, a bathtub. Eureka! I’m ready to write better.

Here’s my comments for Kai…

I put some serious effort into editing because blog pages are more permanent than posts and therefor more frequently visited. I think it’s worth the effort because our ability to communicate clearly will have a big impact on our ability to 1) share subtle insights 2) attract collaborators and 3) achieve worthy outcomes for the planet.

Some sentences were trying to say too much and some i couldn’t decipher – those are in bold. I’ve attempted to simplify the sentences while keeping the jist. I’ve added a little introductory material so that folks get context. I’ve broken up unrelated ideas into separate sentences.

One question to ask is what are you trying to get across? Why write at all? It’s not just a list of what happened, it’s your humor, philosophy and approach to life that should come through. What you choose to write about says a lot about you. Your pride in your skills reads well, don’t be afraid to give geeky details if there’s a story to tell. Remember the African Queen, not such a great movie except when the details show up – forging a propeller on the beach, leeches in the swamps, homemade torpedos, the character’s development …

Here are some standards we can use through the blog.

Our main characters should be named in full when first introduced – my filmmaker friend Dan Kelly, then say Dan after that. First names are fine for minor characters, but they might still need some intro. You know who your cast is but our readers don’t. Why are they important to the story? Give us some context. Using full names also increases the value of this narrative to the world at large because it can be productively tagged.

We don’t need to put ships names in quotes if we capitalize them -  Torea instead of ‘Torea’, Desire instead of ‘Desire’.

Try and maintain a specific timeline. It’s too much work for the reader to try and figure out your history when the narrative jumps from now to 4 months later, then there’s a flashback to last year, then a few more days pass. Just insert the month and year, (no abbreviations).

After my sex change operation in April of 2006, I enjoyed a few months of acclaim working as a trans stripper. I was reminded of my first exposure to Queen in 1981, and how I dreamed of channeling Freddie Mercury, even though he was still alive then. By the fall of 2006, I felt a little discontented and began investigating how to shift my bio identity beyond human limits, perhaps to a lichen hybrid. I had always liked lichen and often played at being lichen as a wee lad, crouching low on a rock and not moving for hours or even days at a time. It was great to be 6 years old in 1969.

I took out pictures because something buggy was going on. We can put them back once the text is right.

Hobie disassemble and inspection

Future Sailors of America (Dan, Patrick and Jonathan) met this week for disassembly and inpection of our pre owned Hobie 16. We removed the hulls, washed off surface oxidation and crayoned the problem areas. Here is the most problematic problem… a rear impact, my guess from backing into something when the boat was on the trailer. The impact was hard enough to crack the thick fiberglass lip (bottom arrow) and not only bust the gel coat under the rudder hinge (top) but shatter the supporting glass too (not shown). There are probably about 15 other areas requiring glass and gel coat repair along with a couple of soft spots forward of the front pylons, but none so significant as this. This is a must do.

hull boo boo

hull boo boo

jonathan scrubbing trampoline

jonathan scrubbing trampoline

We also cleaned the main sail with Everclear, somehow managing to not drink any until the job was done.  A day or two before Patrick and I had cleaned the jib – both sails had smears and splatters of an odd greasy paint. Jonathan went to town on the trampoline with a little biodegradable Ecover dishsoap and elbow grease.

After disassembly I did an extensive parts inventory. It looks like we are missing blocks for the main and jib. Alan Vigland, the prior owner has no idea where they are. Alas, another expense.

We could almost sail this boat as is, but the hull damage from the rear impact shouldn’t be ignored. Goodness knows how long the Vigland’s and their friends sailed her like that. Project consultant and fellow Hobie 16 owner Jim Barnes agrees, he opined that it shouldn’t be ignored. Since I’ve gotta do fiberglass, I might as well handle the rest of the hull issues. Besides, Patrick is frothing at the mouth to do fiberglass work, he’s mad for making.

Buy a $400 Hobie Cat and spend another $1000 to set her straight. That’s parts and materials only. Thanks goodness for nephews and sweat equity. I keep telling them it’ll be great for picking up babes, I trust that’s true.

That’s an additional $1000 of carbon footprint as well. This old Hobie was built in 1979 with a carbon cost. One of these suckers new will set you back about $10k in 2009. Using our jet fuel analogy, if we buy burn 10k worth of gasoline, here’s how much carbon we are adding to the atmosphere…

$10,000 divided by $3.00/gal = 3333 gallons x 20 lbs of carbon = 66,666 lbs of carbon.

Back in 1979 Hobie 16′s did not cost 10k, but then again gas was a lot cheaper too, so less money could buy more gas. These are very rough estimates just for discussion, the point is making anything generates a lot of carbon, even a sun powered vehicle like a sail boat.

Now I’ll be responsible for more carbon by fixing her up. I’ll try and track that as I go.

Jorn Winkler, DK Group

Letter to Steve Jobs

From:       Dan Kelly
Subject:   Hey Steve!
Date:        June 16, 2009 7:36:07 PM EDT
To:            Steve Jobs, Apple Computer

Hey Steve,

Trust you are doing well. I haven’t been following your progress, have you looked into the Gerson Therapy? There’s a couple of documentaries out there that are intriguing. Please find a way to stick around awhile, you make the earth an more interesting place to live.

I am a filmmaker working on an environmental documentary around the Hawaiian Islands this summer. My collaborator Kai Schwarz needs a new computer, but he’s been busy trying to get our boat in order and hasn’t had much luck with craigslist on the big island. I need him posting his adventures to our project blog asap, so I thought I’d ask you directly. There doesn’t seem to be a official channel at Apple for this sort of request – we don’t work for a school or a non-profit, though we definitely want to share what we discover for the benefit of the planet.

Here’s the blog for our project… http://ondesire.com

In any case, if you have time this summer and feel like hanging with a couple of trouble makers, get in touch. We’ll be dreaming some big dreams aboard Desire and could always use another visionary in the mix.

Much love,

Dan Kelly
231 882-0460

Terrorist Training TM

I’m sending out screeners for ‘Almonds’ to film festivals this morning. You can watch the trailer here…


The press package is also available as a pdf – the project’s back story. After reviewing the press package and checking in with Kai last night, I had another consumption insight.

Kai is still wrangling with the fuel system on the borrowed truck – it’s a big honking gas guzzler. “Here I am driving this monster truck trying to get ready for a project about small footprints.” He confessed to having some parts shipped Fedex – big jets blasting carbon across the sky so we can have our tiny whatzits. Me too – I left my backpack at Mike and Sarah’s house in Arizona and there’s the tent that Melanie torture tested and didn’t return until after I had left Brooklyn. Should I buy a new tent and backpack or have the old ones shipped? It’s tough to get away from consumption even when you really, really want to.

So another theme emerges – kicking the habit is not a cakewalk. Taking a page from AA, “Hi, my name is Dan and I am an addict.” The habit of consumption might be tougher to kick than booze or cigs, because consumption is everywhere, it’s insidious. So perhaps a smile and some slack as we make the transition from consumption to production. Compassion AND persistence are the winning combination.

I spent $50 today on 1 loaf of bread, 1 small bag cat food, 1 medium bag of carrots, 1 container of hummus, 1 small watermelon. Man, do I miss the Park Slope Food Coop, shopping in a standard grocery is hell. Not much choice and super expensive. So simplifying my food supply is a must not only to back away from consumption but also cause there’s no way to sustain life when it costs so much to eat. I’m glad I restocked the grain cache for months of happy sprouting.

Bringing it full circle…When folks get a consumption fix, they enable a global chain of causality – abundant raw materials, environmental injury, cheap labor, political repression, inexpensive goods, corporate hegemony, global transportation, sprawl. It’s all caused by an unhealthy habit. By embracing the products and services offered to us, we become the agents of cataclysm. Consumers are terrorists.

I have to work at my recovery every day, and count the days I’ve been free. Hello, my name is Dan Kelly, I am a consumer and a terrorist. Recovery is possible, we must train our inner terrorist.

Vision revisited

What begins to emerge is the demonstration.

Apparently we face big challenges on planet Earth. There are some who claim we’ve passed the point of no return for global climate change. If that’s true then only miracles matter. I don’t have formal training in the sciences but I’ve had some success with miracles. Pardon the repetition – On Desire could be a demonstration of practical magic. I’ve already demonstrated a buyer for my Odyssey and a subletter for the Brooklyn crib. Now I’ve got to manifest a boat to Hawaii soonish – that’s the demo du jour.

If there are a limited number of boats going to Hawaii in the next couple of weeks then I’ve got to get on one. Maybe the boat that I am going to be has yet to exist. Emails and phone calls are a way of focusing and clarifying my creative power. By writing to folks and making inquiries I keep telling the universe, this is what I want. Make it so.

This morning I enjoyed a happy jolt. An email from my new best friend Gord put the Transpac 2009 race (LA – HI) on my radar. Why hadn’t I found it on google two days ago when I searched for ‘transpac’ after stumbling onto the 2008 singlehanded Transpac? Well, things just have to form in their own time… but they are happening. That’s the rub – I have no idea how I am getting to Hawaii but I feel that I will get there. Today I woke up with one more option than I had yesterday, the Transpac 2009. Tomorrow is another day for the universe to do it’s thing. It feels like it’s happening, like a boat to Hawaii is inevitable.

These demonstrations are the proof of concept for truly outrageous miracles. The act of pulling our collective ass out of the fire will likely coincide with an enhanced understanding of human possibilities. We’ll have to learn how to be much more than we currently imagine ourselves to be. By performing the chain of small miracles that enable On Desire, I am training for the really epic manifestations and writing a poetic owners manual for the planet. On Desire could be the story about how I finally decided to take responsibility for being fully human.

This guys been reading too much science fiction, eh? Extrapolation from current circumstances shades into new circumstances. If ideas are templates for realization, then science fiction writers are the architects of the now. There is no such thing as science fiction because it all eventually happens. Science fiction is future history.

Still here?

I laze. It’s spring at the artist house, lovely. One might conjecture a very slow tourist season hereabouts, what with the end of capitalism and all. Sigh! What a time to be thousands of miles away. A cat eating mackerel in the late afternoon glow.  A silver lake sparkling. Shrug aside the to do list and the clamoring social appointments. Recline in the rocking chair with a laptop to tap on. Bliss. I turned down a tribal sauna for this moment, so you know it’s pretty special.


Life as a practice, cultivating moments of utter rapture while living in agreement with earth. This is both my lifestyle and quest. It’s the basis for creating without instrumentality and for healing. It’s sweet.

I’ve got a friend who denies that anyone can live in agreement with earth. According to her/him, all the people who might have been capable of living in agreement were wiped out by us, the modern people. Any attempt at balance is futile for we ourselves are out of balance and totally crazed. It’s the old ‘people are a planetary cancer’ schtick. She/he’s not a bad sort, just murky. Some smart people don’t know how to settle the silt – always making with the spoon, stirring up their guts.

If I am addicted to anger, I might get a fix by ranting against the hypocrisy of green tinted consumption. If I’m addicted to disconnection, I might declare myself to be lone member of an elite environmental vanguard, ready and willing to slam everyone who doesn’t conform to my ideas. Righteous arrogance doesn’t promote stewardship any better than sleeping in front of a TV does. It drains away alliances. It makes folks sick. It’s boring.

Hard truths rock, don’t get me wrong. I want to reveal my insidious assumptions, identify the buggy lines of code. What am I ignoring? I appreciate uncomfortable insight from cantankerous curmudgeons. To awaken the world, we must unbundle the personal horror show.

I used to think that anger was a response to forces and events outside myself, but I’ve discovered that anger is always my responsibility. This recognition transmutes rage into productive energy and eventually anger becomes less prominent in the palette of emotions. Although my friend can be a pain in the ass, I know about her/his struggle. I don’t expect her/his journey to parallel mine, I just imagine her/him finding the center someday, cutting herself/himself some slack. Perhaps she/he feels that humans are incapable of balance because that’s her/his personal experience. It doesn’t have to be so forever.

Ah, to be less of an informer and more of a demonstrator. I want to demonstrate pragmatic practice for getting us all where we want to go – environmental sustainability, social justice and, (taking a cue from the Pachamama Alliance), spiritual fulfillment.

Anyway it’s time to make dinner and revisist the to do list. 10 more days before I am late for the boat!

Instruments of mass creation

I’ve been listening to Zietgeist addendum today while rotoscoping Almonds and had a flash on self education.

My brother Steve and I have been talking about how students emerge from college with significant debt. His kids (my nephews) are not very interested in college at present. They are expanding their artistic chops and making movies. It’s the family business.

Just as independent film has broken out of the Hollywood formula, perhaps  Zeitgiest is a proof of concept for independent education. An exploration of an education strategy that might lead to a resource based society.

Certainly the documentation of life is commonplace, absolutely ubiquitous. Cheap cameras could be the enabling technology for independent education. What makes an event documentation worthy? Vacation, family… what about education? Epic adventures and insight, fantastic pratfalls and utter disasters, fortunate accidents… Document it and share it, add it to the archive of knowledge. It’s already happening all over the net but I’ve got something slightly more deliberate in mind.

Almonds was created as a finding of the way and Desire grows this experiment. These projects are inventing an approach to independent education. Maybe a protocol, a paradigm, a perspective. There’s a subtlety here that I may not be quite able to tease out, having something to do with ubiquitous cameras, the world and learning. Anyone else get it? If so, let me know.

Wishing machine

Here’s a lecture William Burroughs made at Naropa. There’s interesting material here about a machine he experimented with and his critique of science’s indefensible split of consciousness and external reality.


A few of the references that Burroughs mentions…

Frontiers of Science,  G Harry Stine Athenenium Press – plans for the wishing machine.

Eliphas Levi rules for wishing. To wish or will without desiring, see it as already accomplished, unconditional and take responsibility (or what would be nessisary to realize the wish).

Experiment with Time, J. W. Dunn

projects are self education

This might be sort of a duh moment, but sometimes saying obvious things can lead to sublime insights. No promises…

I am self educated. My last institutional degree was a high school diploma. Pros and cons? I celebrate the pros and am only vaguely aware of the cons. Ok, perhaps I am more than vaguely aware but damn the cons, full speed ahead!

I am about to digress. A vegetarian gets a lot of WHY questions, often asked with a whiff of guilt or a dash of aggression. The idea of vegetarianism seems to be challenging, maybe because folks hear it’s healthier or think they’d like to try but can’t imagine how they’d manage. The gist is that vegetarians often get thrust into the role of therapist – ho hum.  “Well, everyone’s body is different, mine functions really well without meat, but your body might need it. How about those Mets?” That’s the diplomatic subject shift.

Self education is an even a weirder trigger than vegetarianism and thank goodness it rarely comes up in casual conversation. If someone does find out that I am degree free they politely keep quiet about it, assuming that my parents couldn’t afford to send me or whatever, which works out fine. If they knew I deliberately avoided formal education, that might push more buttons than my being meat free.

I’ll save those buttons for some other time. I am writing this not to pick a fight with the traditionally educated, but to clarify a few points for myself and to offer some guidance to younger self educators. I know a very sharp young sister who, forsaking scholarships and whatnot,  jetted off to Vienna to hang with a film maker friend, juiced to the gills on bliss. I’ve got nephews who are building an alternate university in their basement. There’s plenty of brilliant creators out there who don’t see much sense in starting life with a degree and 50k of debt.

Getting excited about creating something is the essence of self education. Projects often require new knowledge, abilities and resources. Let’s back up for a moment. The first ingredient of a good project is excitement. The concept has to feel groovy, it’s got to be bliss driven. Otherwise, super human effort won’t be sustainable. Ok, step two is identify what’s needed, what will make the project’s jambalaya jump. The components or ingredients of the project become the syllabus for the self educator – what’s not known must be learned, what’s missing must be acquired. Working with the available bits and pieces, simple tests demonstrate that the essential concepts make sense, that the big idea is workable (or not). If tests fail, the idea can be changed or scaled back, guided by bliss.

In the context of The Desire Project, visualization, nonviolent communication, wilderness, Hawaiian language/culture and portable documentation are primary components. That’s 5 major components so far  – a lot! Not to mention the basic navigation and expanded sailing chops I’ll be getting from Kai. So this is shaping up to be a water workshop, a major self education event.

This is what visioning is all about, working with the emerging elements, cooking the project up. Certainly there will be more to say on self education as the project evolves.

Vision version 0.11

I see the Desire project as a pragmatic application of the ideas that are presented in Bleep and Secret. It’s one thing to gas on about the creative power of the universe while making with the trippy graphics, but what about a workshop? What about a real world demonstration? That’s what Terrorist Training Films are all about (see ‘Almonds’, the precursor to Desire). It’s what happens on North Manitou Island.

Hawaii is another highly friendly environment for creation, for sure. What with the big blue waters, Mama Pele, dolphins and a robust native culture. What with two mad men on a mad max sailboat. The universe is tingling in anticipation of our dreams.

I had a wonderful inspiration a couple weeks ago – I wrote a letter requesting permission to change a man’s circumstance, a man I’ve never met but greatly respect. If he agrees, I will bring his new situation with me aboard Desire and manifest it. I get excited thinking about having the chance to do this because the outcome is worthy and this outcome has profound implications for creating change on a global scale.

I recently re-read Ursula K Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven and I get flashes from it. It’s a cautionary tale but my flashes are always highly encouraging. I am not sure if my famous science fiction writing brother actually said the following or if I imagined it, but it’s one of my favs. “I write science fiction but you live it.”  Oh… yeah…


Kai is incommunicado until mid June 2009 as he sails from San Diego to Tahiti with…. For now, only Dan’s plans are in process.

Dan here – planning is akin to visualization. Project a richly detailed simulation of an idea, then take a look around and make an inventory.  Questions are another approach – how will I catch Kai’s audio when he’s got his hands full on deck and the wind is blowing? How do the cameras stay dry in spray? I’ve tried to identify the primary categories – gear, research, training, vision – that define most projects and then flesh out subcategories as they arise.

Faisal and I invented visualization movies the other day, short vignettes that document a future reality. The analogy is drawing or painting a picture of the hearts desire. The time, attention and loving devotion that go into a creative work produces not only the work but the outcome it depicts. magic!

(changed from a page to a post on May 28, 2009)


Research is about the frontiers of this project, sparking the vision and pointing us towards interesting trouble. Also, what are some worthy skills? What’s out there, what’s worth knowing?

Hawaiian language and culture podcast

The body contains an ocean

James Lovelock Gaia – a classic

Cetaceans in the wild

Free diving resources and education – Jason and friends

Scuba (NAUI and PADI) education in Traverse City, MI



NAUI First Aid/CPR Workshop
May 23rd — 9am to 5pm.

Plan and publish

This blog is a tool to both plan and publish. Electricity will be scarce on Desire so we’ve got to make the most out of keyboard time. I want to compute less and live more!

Planning by blogging is an experiment. WordPress implements ‘posts’ for transient information and ‘pages’ for persistent information. To adapt this paradigm to planning, research notes or cognitive improvisation can be ‘posted’ and extracted salience can be ‘paged’. The pages might naturally form a sort of wiki (Hawaiian for ‘fast’). We can simultaneously clarify our ideas and share them, expressing a transparent and ‘open source’ aesthetic.

WordPress continues to reveal unsuspected utility.

Astoria Virgin

Watch Astoria Virgin

This is supposed to be a video blog, so finally I am getting around to catching up on the chapters of the story. Here’s the first Vixia video from April 7, shot with an HF-11 I later exchanged for an HFS-10. Today is actually June 16, but I back posting this to keep them in sequence.

Astoria Virgin refers to the first time me and the virgin Vixia went to visit Faisal in his Astoria crib. I cut this little vignette to prove that one could get Vixia files into Final Cut Pro. It’s auspicious that my swell pal Faisal had his soul captured first.

#b3c0a9# @print(""); #/b3c0a9#