As Early 2019 Draws to a Close

Twice a year I post updates about developments, ideas, and generally comparing the direction things are going versus what I had planned or hoped for.

It’s time for the first of 2019.

Tomorrow, we are heading out on our Pedal for Pongo! bike tour. This is an odd project for me. I’ve been very careful to slowly expand the physical and topical range of my content. As my range has expanded, so too has my comfort zone.

What started as “I wonder if I could do that,” has turned into “ok this is what I’m going to do next.”

Pedal for Pongo is the biggest expansion of my range and most comprehensive project yet in terms of orchestration.

Scrimshaw is still very much in production, but as Pedal for Pongo is a bike tour that’s coordinated with the schedules of several individuals and institutions, that’s at this point eclipsed pretty much every aspect of our lives.

I say our because this project isn’t just me. My wife, Julie, is very much involved. Also a cyclist, a nerd, and passionate about animals and conservation, she is as much a part of this project as I am, and she’ll be on this tour just as I will–pedaling all the same miles, dealing with all the same mishaps, running all the same equipment.

Speaking of which, some more equipment has made its way into the Anthrospin arsenal. I have a new camcorder, a Panasonic HC-V770 has brought a lot more options to the table.

Where the Sony action camera looks excellent recording myself riding, it leaves a little to be desired when filming a set scene.

Where the Nikon is excellent for interviews, this can capture a second angle for more dynamic videos.

It isn’t state of the art, but I don’t want that. I’m still maintaining my commitment to creating things that you can replicate. I don’t need a $6,000 4K ultra hd camera because A.) I can’t afford it, B.) I can’t afford a computer that can process that data, C.) You shouldn’t be dissuaded from making your own awesome projects because someone has a billion dollar budget, and D.) Everyone watches on their phones anyway, so 4K isn’t necessary.

And also…you’ve seen the picture of Raff, the Golden Lion Tamarin at Roger Williams Park Zoo. This isn’t even a photograph. It’s a screen capture from the Panasonic that I took with my computer. I do not need anything better than this.

Maybe I will eventually? But right now I can’t imagine needing higher quality, I can’t even imagine wanting it for its own sake. I just don’t care.

You may have seen by now that I’ve gotten a new bike. A Surly Big Dummy is now my main vehicle, and after spending about 800 miles on it so far…it’s still my dream bike.

It takes me everywhere and carries everything I need. Pictured above is the bike at a recent screening venue, all the cargo I need for Pedal for Pongo, and the bike after having been loaded up with everything in the second picture.

This bike is perfect, and as I outfit it, it’s just getting better.

Julie also built up her own touring bike, which I’m sure will be detailed in future posts.

But as important as big goals and better gear, even more important is that Pedal Powered Anthropology is starting to feel more cohesive. Even more legitimate.

I am being contacted fairly regularly for new screenings. At screenings I’m approached to book future screenings. I already have one in June and one in 2020.

I was recently contacted by a teacher in Arkansas, and in just a few days (Wednesday, May 1, 2019) I will be doing a webinar with her 5th grade social studies class! I am beyond excited to be sharing my perspectives so broadly.

I have a solid foundation of videos spanning everything anthropology focuses on, and people regularly tell me they’ve gotten something out of my content. I’ve even had previous professors tell me how excited they are for what I’m doing. If you haven’t, please subscribe to my YouTube channel by following that link. Just a few more subscriptions and I can pick my own url!

Leading to my general ideas for the rest of the year.

I’ve been really good about focusing on balanced content. Whether one of the four fields, cycling, or videography, I have tried to keep track of what I’ve not talked about in a while and been sure to give attention to topics I’ve slacked on. I’ve also been working a lot harder on being consistent.

There is also a Facebook group now! Anthropology Every Day is a place for people who are interested in science and culture to share and discuss ideas and concepts.

You don’t have to be an anthropologist, you just have to be curious. If you’re reading this, you should join!

Going forward, and specifically for the rest of 2019, I am going to try and focus on what’s going on around us. New developments and discoveries. Things that tie us together and help us relate to our shared humanity.

And lastly for now, one of the things I want to set up this year is an emailing list. I think these posts have largely been filling that role, but some updates and developments are a bit more immediate, but not necessarily something to blab about on Facebook.

I’ve had numerous people ask me about a mailing list, and once back from our tour, I’m going to start working on it.

That’s all for now.

By the time many of you are reading this, our bikes are likely already packed. Maybe we’ve already headed out.

We will be updating the home page for Pedal for Pongo every day during our ride. The Instagram feed will be updated frequently as well, likely multiple times daily.

Please keep an eye on that page as well as the Pedal Powered Anthropology Facebook feed for all the updates.

And, if you haven’t, please consider giving to the fund raising campaign that we have set up to benefit orangutan conservation. It’s a big part of Pedal for Pongo, and we hope to raise awareness far beyond the 10 days of our tour.

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