Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New video from New Orleans

New video from New Orleans coming tomorrow! Jason Mraz and filmaker Josh Tickell protest big oil...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Facebook test

This is a test to check that my blogs automatically update to Facebook.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm at the Gulf!

I've finally made it to the Gulf. A couple of days in New Orleans working to make some money (one of the many ways I support this project) and I'm off and running -- looking for stories and for any way I can help with the cleanup and protection of America's Gulf Coast.

I've listed myself and the project with all the states' volunteer websites, I've been in contact with the Deepwater Horizon Response and various states' tourism boards, and am woking hard to get you the information you need without the standard media spin we've come to distrust so much.

I've been doing a lot of research about what beaches have been affected, who is in charge of what programs and where the volunteer efforts are being concentrated. Any information or contacts you can send my way would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, if you would like to help with a monetary donation, please click on this link:

Whether you can afford $5 or $5000, any help is appreciated and goes directly to The Vanishing America Projects efforts in the Gulf. And... it's tax deductible!

The Vanishing America Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of this project may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

So, please help out. Remember... if we want ownership of this land, we must take responsibility!

Friday, June 25, 2010

On the way to LA (that's Louisiana!)

I'm now in East Texas, about 20 miles outside Houston. And, yes, it's still hot. But not as hot as it was back in West Texas.

Speaking of West Texas, I spent the night parked in a tiny little town called Van Horn. In the morning I had lunch at a great local joint called Papa's Pantry. I asked them for an avacado as an appetizer and they gave me a plate of the biggest, tastiest, butteriest (is that a word?) slices of avacado I've ever eaten. They sliced it and peeled it and delivered it to me while I awaited my "to go" order. Now THAT'S what I call service! :-)

After the avacado, I drove around the corner to the Veteran's Park -- a cute little playground and ballfield not half a mile away. Though it looked clean and well-kept at first glance, it was obvious on closer inspection that it probably wasn't a place that little kids visited very often. The usual playground devices were there (see-saws, slides, etc.), but they were missing pieces and looked like they hadn't been played on in years. There was also a LOT of broken glass scattered around... as if the place got a little rowdy on the weekends. Not exactly the kind of place you want your kids to be running around in (especially if the kids are like I was and ran around in bare feet all summer!)

I don't mean to paint a poor picture of the place. It was actually pretty interesting. And, as I stated before, it did look fairly well kept. The grass was mowed, the landscaping was tidy, and the ball field was in great shape. I guess it's just the broken beer bottles that threw me.

And it's that bit of information that got me thinking... is this playground a symbol of our times? Is it a symbol of a changing America? I asked myself, "Why don't kids play here anymore? Has this place become the local hangout to drink away one's troubles? If so, why?

Best not to think too deeply on these kinds of things. After all, I am an outsider looking in, and I only caught it in a singular moment in time. I'd actually love to see a ball game there some weekend...

Deepwater Horizon Response

A contact at The Mother Nature Network sent me to what appears to be a great website for information about the spill in the Gulf:

The next link defines the treatment of the media by the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command. In a nutshell, it says that "the medial is our means of telling the story" and should be treated with courtesy and respect. Good to hear! I hope all the organizations involved with the spill will be just as respectful. :-)

Here is a listing of beach status updates:

And even more questions are answered here:

Now, I'm still learning about who is responsible for what and who has what authority where, so there may be different rules for different areas. But, this is a pretty good start!

Getting close...

I apologize for promising a post every day and not delivering. Believe me, I tried. But I was out in the middle of nowhere and didn't have any internet service. So, when I settle in tonight, I'll post an update and a couple of cool pics of what I've seen along the way. Until then...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another hot one!

It's gonna be another hot one folks! (Damn, I sound like a local weatherman...)
It was another scorcher today -- up to 106 as I passed through New Mexico.

But, I've made it to... where am I again? Oh, right. Van Horn, Texas --
a tiny little town less than 40 miles from the Mexican border.

And, now... as the little hand on the clock makes its
way to join the big hand at the stroke of midnight... I await that splendid moment when the temperature dips
below 90. Any minute now...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the road to the Gulf...

What is it about traveling that gets the blood pumping? Is it that I'm heading to an event that's bigger than anything America has seen in recent years? Is it that I'm excited about lending a hand in a disaster that should be one of our biggest opportunities to come together as a nation? Is it the curiousity of the unknown?

Well, whatever it is, I'm excited about this leg of my journey and I hope you are, too. This is quite a departure from my normal travels, but it fits right in with the theme of this project.

I've heard lots of rumors about what is happening out there, but, until I get the information first-hand, I won't be repeating any of it.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy my drive East, try not to scratch the 30+ itchy bug bites I received at the Salton Sea yesterday and report back to you every night I possibly can.

Until tomorrow...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Support the oil cleanup efforts

I'm beginning a campaign to raise money for my journey to the Gulf. As you know, it costs money to travel, and I need your help in order to bring you the images and stories of what's really happening out there.

And it's not just about images and stories... I will be getting my hands (and other parts of me) very dirty as I help with the protection and cleanup of our Gulf coastlines. This is your chance to get involved.

Any donation is appreciated and is tax-deductible when made through this link:

Let's make a difference while we still can!

(The Vanishing America Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of the project may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. )

On my way to The Gulf...

Oil, oil everywhere...

What's going on with this oil spill? Why is the government and BP spending so much time talking about it and so little time acting? Are they trying to find the "best" solution? Are they trying to protect themselves if the solution doesn't work? Honestly, I don't know. None of us do. We only know what they tell us in the media, and we know how honest and accurate US media is these days.

Well, like many Americans, I'm upset about what's happening (and not happening), but I don't know the real story. So... I'm heading out there to find out what the real story is. It's not fair for me to rant and rave about who's to blame and what cleanup method is best if all I have to rely on is someone else's interpretation of the events at hand.

Of course, every report has it's own spin, and I'm sure mine will be no different. But, I pride myself on presenting all sides of the story whenever I can. Because I'm passionate about what I do, I will always include my own perspective, but I try to present the facts accurately so that you can all make your own informed decisions. And that is exactly what I intend to do over the next few weeks. I intend to document what I see and hear. I intend to relay the hopes and fears of the communities. I intend to show you what is happening at "ground zero", so to speak. I won't be perfect in my reports, but you can count on me to be open-minded, objective and honest.

Enough talk. It's time to ACT!

So, I'm going to the Gulf to get my hands (and other parts of me) extremely dirty. And I hope my efforts can, in some way, help. I don't know what it's going to take to clean up this mess, but there are a few good ideas floating around out there. We just need to implement them. Speaking of which...

There is never only ONE way to solve a problem. There are always many options. The best solution is to use the right tool for the job and this job of oil cleanup might just require several different tools. BP and our government are making progress talking about the mess, but talking doesn't help clean up the oil. Whether or not the methods being discussed are the best methods doesn't matter. Let's just get out there and clean it up the best ways we know how. We're wasting time trying to lay blame and find the "correct" methods of cleanup.

Here's one that I found very intriguing:

Keep checking in with me over the next several weeks for updates and ideas. And, by all means, let me know what YOU think!

Stay tuned...