A quick update to let you know that I’m giving a talk at TEDx University of Toronto Scarborough this weekend. What’s the topic? SPAAAAACE! (of course). More specifically, the theme of this TEDx is “Converging Realities.” They are looking for speakers who could bridge two fields/concepts/ideas that might seem otherwise unrelated. In my other life, I help run a small non-profit organization called Esther’s Echo. In fact, my background is in International Development where I studied the field at the University of Toronto. In this talk, I will be sharing how space actually encourages my work for social justice, both at home and abroad, which inspired my other site No Borders from Orbit.
Below is a teaser of the talk. The conference is streaming live from www.tedxutsc.com. I’m up at 10AM EST this Saturday February 1st, but the talk will also be available later on YouTube and we’ll post it then as well!
Quick update. Tomorrow is Vancouver’s first ever FanExpo. Typically FanExpo is centered in Toronto. The convention marks one of my favorite times of the year. As someone keen on community building, it is harder to find a more diverse, welcoming, passionate and engaging community than at the Toronto FanExpo. Having now become a permanent Vancouver resident, I was disappointed I couldn’t attend the Toronto convention last August as the dates fell during one of the busiest times of the year here at Simon Fraser University. However, word came that FanExpo would be reaching out West and coinciding with the annual Canadian Video Game Awards. Furthermore, Victor Lucas, founder of Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run under Greedy Productions, will be at the show. I had been a fan of Elec Play for a number of years but really gained respect for Victor following his insightful and creative speech at TEDx Vancouver where he discusses his new role as a father. I’m looking forward to meet him in person.
One of my favorite pieces of memorabilia made it across the country in time for FanExpo. A close friend of mine and member of the Esther’s Echo Board of Directors, Micaela Roughton, found a Battlestar Galactica promotional package for the sci-fi epic’s entry into the Emmy awards. The package, featuring glossy photos of the cast and 3 episodes prior to completed post-production, was limited to cast/crew and judging panels but some found their way online for sale and Micaela snatched one for me. Over the years I have been securing autographs for the book. My brother and his fiance were holding onto the Emmy package for me and mailed it from Toronto just in time. Michael Hogan was slated to be at FanExpo tomorrow (Saturday the 21st), but it seems now he may have cancelled. I will truck it out none-the-less.
I’ll have shots from the event up soon. I also have a final update from the Race to Space in the next blog! Thanks so much again to everybody who supported me by voting!
You can find the link for FanExpo Vancouver at http://www.fanexpovancouver.com/ and, if you’re going to be at the event, tweet me! @chasingatlantis
Paul and I are off to Africa working on another project for Esther’s Echo (www.esthersecho.org). Development is my field of study and I’m really excited about the opportunity get abroad and start the first community project for our organization. It’s been a few years in the making! Below is the IndieGoGo project profile for the trip if you’d like to learn more about it. We’ll be off the grid for a few weeks until we get back at which time we’ll be back at work on Chasing Atlantis.
Remember, from orbit, the world is bordlerless!
Without me having to post you know by now that the final shuttle launch has been completed successfully. Beside me, thousands gathered on the shores of Titusville to bear witness; each grasping at this moment in history; an attempt to possess a moment in time and preserve it within a chalice of memories.
The countdown roared across the masses; a synchronized unity of peoples and nations observing units of determination stronger than gravity. 10…9…8 the engines fired. A billion eyes around the world gaze upon the first signs of ignition, a billowing plume of flame and smoke and past tragedy and future hopes and present dreams. 7…6…5…4…3…a jungle of tripod legs make their final adjustments around me…2…1…
Two surges of power unite across the waters. A wave of sonic distortion from millions of pounds of thrust collide with the inspiration of a million spectators. The combined energies hurdle a shuttle into orbit at thousands of miles per hour and a civilization into awe and questions of the future.
Atlantis’ launch was like experiencing an annotation of my life all in a single moment. Childhood dreams of crossing the atmospheric threshold, crushing disappointment of myopia, new found passion for global development and renewed passion for studying sciences all in a single thrust of emotions, memories and liquid hydrogen.
I have yet to fully appreciate the impact this week trip across the continent to Florida with my Chasing Atlantis friends has had on me. But I look forward to reviewing the hours of footage, dozens of interviews, and personal reflection that we documented through Virgina, Pennsylvania and finally Florida to discover exactly what I’ve learned.
I now sit at a different union of energies, that of a bride and groom. One of my closest friends and fellow Co-Founder of Esther’s Echo, Stephen Tracy, became a husband only a few hours ago married to his new wife, Sheralyn. The same grace that has shone upon us during our chase of Atlantis ensuring our safe travels and connections with amazing individuals across the US brought me home and in time for the wedding (with a nail biting twenty minutes before “I do.”) As the sun sets on the lakes of Muskoka, North of Toronto, and wedding celebrations continue into the night, Steve and Sheralyn’s union remind me why I embarked for the Cape to begin with; connection. Connection with others to find a common sense of hope, inspiration, and create even bigger dreams together.