Were it not for twitter, which apparently is a sewer, and the internet itself, which is broken and even failing it’s founding father, I would not have spent an afternoon making paper arts, playing swivel tennis, with a friend and his family on the other side of the world.
I first knew of Rowan Peter via the legendary (and it was) first round of open DS106 in 2011. It was rather remarkable that an educator from Melbourne Australia had found and jumped into this ragged open community of interestly odd characters. His entry was fueled by the first excitement over DS106 radio very memorably his live transmissions of the sounds of cicadas.
There was much more, like his DS106 lawn art, his fascination with ice hockey, and the birth of his son Alex around the same time as the start of the crazy live radio era of DS106. If there was a dot from Australia on the live listener map for a radio broadcast, we knew it was Rown. There’s much more to it than the things I remember, if anything it was Rowan’s presence of participation and care for others in the community that is even more memorable.
It was ideal that in December 2011 I had an offer to present at a workshop in Melbourne, that made for the trip over, and I got to spend some time hanging out with Rowan, but even better, to visit his home. I even got to make my own version of lawn art in his backyard
and stumbled into the creator of a giant Theremin on the Melbourne water front (Rowan had told me of this)
plus some efforts at the StoryBox plus a failed attempt at Skate With George. But maybe the biggest highlight was getting yo meet Rowan’s new son, less than a year old.
Thus it was a near certainty (I hoped) to visit Rowan again on this trip, nearly 6 years later. He came into Melbourne to visit my first weekend, where we had a walk about Victoria Market (I had my first borek), laneway wanderings
But the treat was my last Sunday in town when Rowan drove in to pick me up, and seeing coming down the street my friend and a happy 7 year-old Alex, who apparently has been practicing with that photo above to do a “Young Me / Now Me” redo
And thus achieved:
Yet this was about half of the joyous part of the day, for I got to meet for the first time, Rowan’s daughter, Charly, who came into the world in the time between my visits. She welcomed me with a shower of confetti and we enjoyed a fair bit of time doing paper and chalk art
How can this internet be all terrible if it enables this?
Ah, but there is more to this friendship connection, maybe more than this post can handle. I also got to hang out twice with Aaron Davis, who is now in the class of friends / colleagues where the trace of connection fades into a blurred range. Aaron joined me for a tour of the ACMI Wallace and Gromit Exhibit
as well as a walkabout in the area near his workplace on one of my last free days in town. We talked music and passed the actual Charcoal Lane sung about by Archie Roach
Another important re-connection while in Melbourne was with Michael Coghlan, whom I know the trace of connection goes back to the paleo-web of the last 1990s. We’ve crossed paths on my visits to his town of Adelaide (he took the 10 year photo used on a backdrop for https://cog.dog/roo), for a few Horizon Project meetings here, an the Open Education Conference in Vancouver.
Our most frequent connections, like perhaps weekly in the past few years, has been mutual commenting on photos in flickr. Michael is a keen photographer with an eye for things as weird and falling down as I enjoy. He recently shared a web site that managed to reuse each of our photos
So it was wonderful that when I told him of my trip to Melbourne, Michael made special plans to fly in and visit for a few days, the best being an afternoon photo wander along the Yarra River and than a jaunt up to Fitzroy
We have much in common in terms of his edtech work in TAFEs paralleling my first long stint in Community Colleges, as well as music and disdain for politics of the now. In fact, I will have to do something about our terrible President to enable it so Michael will come and visit the states again (he’s not doing so while El Orange Chupacabra is in power).
I’m working on it Michael.
Being a long time friend, I gave Michael one of three imported beers I brought from That Brewery, just to give him a reason to visit Arizona when the coast is clear.
These connections, and more, and more made during this trip, happen in the same internet place that people can paint a wide brush on as totally terrible… it cannot be totally terrible if these things can happen.
I’m in it for the webs of friendship. You?