Earlier this week I was down in Virginia Beach to participate in the first annual USCG PodCamp which in fact was the first US military PodCamp. Being first is good and this event was run alongside the much larger USCG Innovation Expo which seemed entirely appropriate on so many levels.
Not familiar with the term PodCamp. Well, it’s a social media unconference. Still confused, don’t worry you’re not alone. An unconference is basically a self organized conference/event where people come to share their knowledge and experience on a particular topic/theme. PodCamps focus on social media.
Participants get to decide on what topics will be explored and discussed in sessions throughout the day. It might sound a bit chaotic and it can be, but for the most part it an extremely effective way to cover a wide range of topics in a relatively short time frame and to tailor learning to the needs of the group. It works best when attendees actively participate through leading a session, asking questions and engaging in dialogue/discussions.
The USCG PodCamp was a great success and I’ve written a post on it over at seaz.me. (Five Highlights of USCG PodCamp). If you are in the Coast Guard, maritime industry or just interest in learning more or sharing your social media experience and knowledge you might want to mark your calendar for the 2nd annual USCG PodCamp next November in Tampa, FL.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum just began filling slots for its 14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon, a 25-hour, nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s little book to be held January 9-10, 2010. The event starts at noon that Saturday and it’s free to read, listen, or partake of coffee, cider, and “traditional whaleship fare” (ew?), but if you want a non-wee-hours reading slot, you’d better call 508-997-0046 posthaste and make your wishes known.
Funny that the original name of this movie was The Boat That Rocked when it opened in the UK in April 2009 to terrible reviews and financial failure. The name was changed to Pirate Radio for the American opening tomorrow. Hmmm, seems like a questionable strategy but I guess once you’re committed, your committed.
Here’s the trailer.
The movie is a fictional account but these types of radio stations did exist off the coast of England through the 1970’s. According to the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, on March 20, 1970, the MV Mi Amigo, one of the last pirate radio ships, sank after her crew abandoned her. Let’s hope Pirate Radio doesn’t suffer the same fate.
Looking for something appropriate to post today, Veteran’s Day 2009, I stumbled upon this extraordinary oral history/slide show which World War I veteran Lester Hillegas tells in his own words. From YouTube:
World War I veteran Lester Hillegas (my grandfather) recalls his experiences joining the US Navy and serving aboard USS Florida. Recorded around 1980 with pictures from his time in the Navy. In this section he talks about enlistment, traveling to boot camp in Portsmouth, NH, and the crossing to the Scotland. Parts 2 and 3 he talks about service in the North Sea, the surrender of the German fleet, and life in the Navy. He passed away in 1989.
Here are videos worth watching and listening to.
Thanks to YouTube user ly776 for posting these incredible recordings and slide shows of his/her grandfather’s service for our country. Sea stories like these help us understand and appreciate the dedication and sacrifices made by soldiers and sailors . But more importantly, they humanize what is otherwise a pretty abstract concept for most Americans who have not served.
On this special day, don’t forget to thank someone who’s served your country!
For the past two years, Minnesota artist Justin Quinn has been transcribing and transforming passages from Moby-Dick into intense, swirly drawings, prints, and collages. One catch for would-be readers: he changes every letter he copies into the letter “E.”
The point, Quinn says in a statement, is to explore “the space between reading and seeing”—to create with his E’s a “vacant language” parallel to the language of the source. He chose Moby-Dick as his text because its “story rich in theology, philosophy, and psychosis provides me with a roadmap for my work, but also with a series of underlying narratives.”
When I contacted Quinn, he had been thinking a lot about Chapter 35: “The Mast-Head,” which discusses the long, lonely hours that whalemen would spend keeping watch for whales’ spouts. Quinn compared his own labors to these. “Lost in my own thoughts (much like the whale-fishers) I am accumulating time in the studio, and the characters can read as a tally of my time,” he wrote in an email.
Quinn’s latest Moby-Dick works will be on exhibit from November 19 through December 23 at the Cain Schulte Gallery in San Francisco, with an artist talk at 7 p.m. on the opening night.
Last week I posted about a unique moving day at the North Pole. This week, there’s a similar story but much closer to home. Debbie Francouer is moving to Mattapoisett, my hometown, and she’s bringing EVERYTHING including the kitchen sink (and all of the plumbing) with her.
I’ve heard of a barn-raising. Maybe we can call this a house-floating.
It’s a very exciting time in our house because Luke, our first grader, is currently learning how to read and there’s nothing better than a Dr. Seuss-ish maritime themed early reader like Stabby the Narwhal.
Last week, a cruiser relived the fateful last bit of Moby-Dick—but with a happy ending. The J/World had just checked into the Baja Ha-Ha, a two-week rally down Mexico’s Pacific coast, when it encountered a pod of whales, at least one of which attacked the boat’s rudder and opened a hole in the hull.
The J/World sank within five minutes, but all five crew members survived, thanks to two hand-held VHFs they managed to salvage in the scramble for the lifeboat. Just think, if the Pequod had had VHFs … nah, the same thing would have happened.