A natural lazy river on Guilligan’s Island, Puerto Rico

It was one of those drives. You know–the two hours drives that magically turn into four hour drives after your GPS reroutes you through the smallest towns and biggest mountains.

After getting lost in the mountains in the heart of Puerto Rico, finally arriving to Guilligan’s island was such a relief. Although we were only able to go there for 3 short hours (the last ferry back to the mainland is at 5), my friend Isabel and I were able to enjoy these mangroves. I did a bit of snorkeling through the mangroves, which was slightly difficult on the way upstream, definitely more relaxing on the way back. It is definitely a must-see in Puerto Rico if you are near Guánica.

We went to Guánica one other time during my two weeks in Puerto Rico to go scuba diving off the wall, but it’s safe to say we took the correct way there, cutting the drive almost in half.

Sometimes you have to trust a map over a GPS.

Real World: Mars Edition

Recently for a class that I have we had to develop a transmedia campaign. Now you’re probably thinking, what the sam hell is a transmedia campaign? Essentially it is a story that is designed to involve the viewer/participant whatever you want to call yourself. You become a part of the story as an active participant. Sometimes these campaigns can be to raise money for a charity, such as this or more often than not, simply raise awareness of a pre-existing story such as the Why So Serious? campaign for The Dark Knight.

Watch the video:
Why So Serious? A Marketing Transmedia Campaign… di Transmedialab

Some stories are too big, even for the big screen. But, Wikipedia might explain it to you better.

Sounds crazy, right? But as Oscar Levant said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Now it might not seem so insane to create an alternate reality game for Batman obsessed men to have an excuse to wear joker makeup and escape their mundane lives for a second. But, what about raising money to go to Mars? This article talks all about Mars One‘s new lottery mission to Mars. Well, it’s not really a lottery. More like American Idol meets The Real World meets Another Earth. Only no one comes back.

Artist drawing of Mars One

Many things run through your mind as you learn more and more about this crazy idea. Who would want to apply? There’s a great line from Another Earth where she explains her reasoning for why she should be chosen to go on the crazy space mission to another earth. The movie is obviously a little different than this mission, because she does come back to Earth at the end of the movie… but it’s a good start for thinking about the type of people who would go on this mission (it’s also one of my favorite movies). This is the quote from her entry video which wins her a ticket to the other Earth:

“When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren’t carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I’m an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.”

People made jokes on the comments to the article such as “can’t wait to see who hooks up first!” Because how successful can a trip to Mars be when the astronauts are picked based on popular vote, and not just popular vote of anyone. Popular vote of the reality tv watching audience… I don’t know many real scientists or people who would probably have the authority to make these sort of decisions in other circumstances that watch reality television. Also what rational person is going to think this is real? It’s going to take a lot of convincing to convince people that this is not just a money-scam. I still wouldn’t be surprised if this is all some sort of April Fool’s joke a few days late.

The Conspiracy For Good was an example that sometimes a little fantasy and storytelling can actually do what it says it’s going to do. They actually did build a library after the whole “conspiracy” was over. But building a library and sending real humans to Mars for the rest of their lives are quite far apart on the spectrum of believability and do-able-ness. After all, I did develop an entire zombie story game as a hypothetical transmedia campaign to raise money for organ printing technology, and if I was serious about it, who says Mars One isn’t either? I suppose only time will tell. And if not, I’m sure the application videos will provide for some serious entertainment and food for the ever growing internet meme culture. I can already imagine all the feels I’m going to have if this really does become a television show though. But there are only so many things you can do in a bubble. They also have yet to completely solve the sleeping issue. I can’t live without a good night’s sleep, so definitely not the life for me! Would you go?

The allure of the odd: Burning Man

I have always been really interested in different festivals throughout the world. In highschool I did a project all about different festivals and one of the festivals I read a lot about was Burning Man. Burning Man is known to most as a crazy hippie fest where everyone gets naked and sets a big wooden dude on fire. What they don’t know about it, is that Burning Man is an attempt to create a sort of liberal thinking utopian society, if only for a week.

I stumbled across a spectacular essay/article about one journalist, Seth Stevenson’s, “dispatch from the front line of travel” to Burning Man.

The “man” pre-burn

This “outsiders” view of the inside of Burning Man really helped me to see the allure of the odd, the allure of going to this strange festival and stepping outside all the comfort zones that ever previously existed. People are crave community, the sense of feeling as if they are part of a group. Essentially, that’s all Burning Man is… a bunch of people getting together to have fun TOGETHER. All the bells and whistles of Burning Man might at first seem like the main allure to the festival, but I agree with Stevenson. The central allure for Burning Man is the same that all festivals have: coming together to celebrate and have a good time to create a unified culture in the melting pot that is America. And should we really need an excuse to let a little of our crazy out and dress up like a centaur? You decide…

Are they human? Or are they… wait… what are they?

Travel agents pull a Star Wars

If you’re a nerd like me, you remember those times in Star Wars where a crew is receiving a message via a hologram, right? Luke Skywalker will be needing some handy advice and Yoda will appear in a hologram giving him some “advice good for Luke”, yes? Sorry about my lame attempt at Yoda lingo.

So imagine this: you just ended a wonderful stay in Germany, and you’re trying to smuggle some Deutsch chocolate and sausages into the US of A, but you get stopped. Somehow the TSA has discovered your lie. You have smuggled these delicious goodies into America every year on your annual trip to Germany, but now, they somehow have figured out your lie! How you ask? HOLOGRAPHIC PEOPLE. That’s right. Some airports around the world now have holographic travel agents to help assist you, or in your case, catch you red-handed.

Holographic Boarding Agent

These crazy things can actually DETECT WHEN  YOU’RE LYING at customs. Creepy and crazy if you ask me. The hologram uses infrared sensors and other crazy technology to detect changes in pupil dilation and subtle changes in tone to know when you’re lying to customs about bringing in that illegal chocolate and sausages.

The article from BBC I read about the topic mentions that families are very interested in the new travel agents and that people are very satisified with their experiences using them. It also says that the holograms use “soothing” voices to calm down distressed travelers. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know personally if I’m in distress when I’m traveling, a computer is going to do everything BUT calm me down. After the novelty wears off of feeling like Luke Skywalker, I’m going to get real angry at these things. I’m pretty sure when my baggage is lost, and a computer keeps telling me to calm down, I would probably just end up attacking it with my trusty traveling neck pillow. Then I will proceed to look for a REAL person to calm me down and get me my missing luggage so I can finally brush my teeth after hours of traveling.