Thursday, May 04, 2006

Joshua Slocum and Me

We just did a show about Joshua Slocum. In case you don’t know who he is, he was the first person to complete a solo circumnavigation. That was way back in 1895. With almost 80 funny videos about sailing, circumnavigation and related topics available on my website, I’m surprised we didn’t cover the topic of Slocum’s historic achievement earlier.

I don’t set editorial policy on my show. My partners/producers do that. I’m just the guy getting in the boat and trying for a record. Why should anyone listen to me? I suggested a show about Slocum months ago. My partners said, “yeah yeah yeah, we’ll get to it.” I think they didn’t get it. They didn’t realize how fascinating he is.

Now that they finally got around to doing a show about him, David, one of my partners, can’t stop talking about him. He’s reading the guy’s book, “Sailing Alone Around the World.” Minutes ago, David wrote to the website forum: “Slocum is an interesting character. When Dr. Bob said, ‘he must have been flinty,’ I think he got it just right. What impresses me is his scope. He was entrepreneurial, exploring, indomitable, intrepid, individualistic AND a first class literary talent. The dude was cool.”

Well, I’m not going to be guilty of telling him, “I told you so.” Instead, I’ll write it: I told you so David.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Not as crazy as it sounds

I’ve said it over and over and I mean it: I am preparing to sail around the world in an 11 foot boat. The idea is that I want to capture Serge Testa’s record. He went around in a 12 footer 20 years ago. Nav systems and boat construction materials have only gotten better since then. To me that’s pretty good evidence that I can get around in an 11 footer now.

People already think I’m a little loony for staking that claim. Now that I’ve announced my intention to open up my route planning and navigation to public control over the Internet, some people think I’m certifiable. But I don’t think so. I compare my idea with the open source movement or with wikipedia and it gives me a good feeling. Software like linux is better because more people work on it. More eyeballs catch mistakes. Same with the wikipedia. I read that vandalism is the biggest source of errors and the effect of vandalism are corrected within 20 minutes.

If I make navigation control of my boat public I’m sure there will be people trying to steer me to the rocks. But that will be balanced by people helping me out and doing the right thing. It’s a really interesting experiment. I think it will be really cool to Captain the first collaborative circumnavigation. I welcome all thoughts and assistance from anyone reading this.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Turning Forty, Etc.

It occurred to me today that I am about to turn forty. Not in age, in Humpcasts. This Monday will mark our fortieth episode of the Captain Humphreys Project. This fact has made me realize how much progress the project has made in the last forty days.

When we started, I remember vividly, David and Glenn at odds over whether a daily show was possible. David was filled with excitement at the chance to do it, Glenn was more cautious. He wondered what would happen if we missed a day? Would Missing a daily show throw the entire project into chaos. Sort of like if missed a daily episode. Would it hurt them from a marketing or advertising perspective. Even worse, what if a daily show missed several days per month, would that fact spell the end?

Well, it should be obvious we took the chance and started doing daily shows. And here we are almost forty shows later. I think, with maybe three exceptions, the shows keep getting better and better. I think we have fallen into a nice pattern and are working well as a team.Hats off to Bob and David who write the shows!

Also of note is our recent acceptance as a Brightcove Partner. Brightcove is the much reported new company started by Jeremy Allaire - the guy who founded a little company called Macromedia. Brightcove is the next generation of web-based video programming and syndication platforms. Watching Glenn manipulate and populate the Brightcove Console Tool was very exciting. There is so much a Video syndicator can do with the tools, and it is made so simple. Just look at the new Brightcove player on the homepage, or the truly stunning Brightcove Archive Page. Membership in the Brightcove Beta Partnership Club is very limited and prestigious. I am so happy to report that we are now "down with the 'cove"!

The Crew bleeped the "curse words" in today’s show. The mission is to get me around the world in the smallest boat and set a world record that hasn’t been challenged for way too long (20 years). It’s not to have overprotective parents trying to get us off the web. But, c’mon man. Doesn’t everyone know what’s being said behind the bleep? Bleeping seems like a stupid solution. Then again every frikkin' show on TV has at least 4 bleeps a segment. Also, if you take a survey of the really creepy crap on the internet, a couple of curses become really meaningless.

The controversy over the "Grumpcast" has me confused. About as many people hated it as loved it. What gives? I thought Bob was very grumpy. I was really disturbed by the way Bob ranted and raved at the poor girl and thought she was going to burst out crying any moment. Well, the very same girl emailed David that she loved the show and so did her friends. She can’t wait to come back. Just goes to prove, having a cast filled with sadists is always the way to go, baby.

It happened again. Someone I didn’t know asked me if I am the Captain. I guess I’ll get used to it eventually. Hopefully I’ll get on the boat sooner rather than later and the whole issue will be over, as the only recognition I will get at sea is from pirates or the giant squid. they won't call me The Captain! They will figure out unpleasant things to do to me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cool Site of the Day!

Well, I want to start out by welcoming all our new viewers from Cool Site of the Day. It is very exciting to have so many new viewers discover the project and the crew. This project is entirely run by our four man crew. We are just average guys. None of us are TV executives or have any pull in show business. Every viewer we have is down to word of mouth and free advertising, like Cool Site of the Day.

I want to answer one of the most frequently asked questions. The question is , "are you guys for real?" The answer is WE ARE SERIOUS. This project is not a joke or a spoof. Eric Humphreys will build an 11 foot boat and sail it around the world. Our business plan is to build viewership to the point that advertising and merchandising will cover the cost of the boat and the voyage.

When we started the project we thought of the website as a means for selling the concept to Corporate America. But when the corporations wanted us to either make the show a spoof or a hoax, we realized that we would have to do this ourselves. We felt that the regular people out there in cyberspace would be ready for a show like ours, even if the executives were not.

To that end, we revamped the website, started doing daily videos and created a host of other content. We have been steadily building our audience and with today's Cool Site of the Day traffic, I think we are farther along towards our goal. I personally ask anyone who likes the site the to tell as many people as you can about our show. I think word of mouth will get us to the viewership needed to build the boat.

I want to thank all of you again, our viewers, without you guys the project would be dead in the water. And remember to subscribe to our RSS feeds!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just Don't Care

First off, that pillow fight last week was stooopid! Why would I want to associate myself with a bunch of unwashed 30 year olds hitting each other with filthy pillows. Uh, right, sure sounds like fun! NO WAY.

David found out the hard way how ridiculous it was. He went into the fight only to be bashed on his way back to the street. They should have napalmed the entire ridiculous scene!

On a brighter note, I am working on our first newsletter, so make sure to go to the newsletter page and sign up. I think it will be informative and fun to make the newsletters part of the overall Captain Humphreys content offering. Because here at The Captain Humphreys Project is all about content and the many ways to distribute it.

Well, gotta head to work now, where I learn the misery of life on a daily basis. Man, I can't wait to start building that boat...

Friday, February 17, 2006

Excuses and Pillow Fights

It’s been awhile since I posted. That’s because I’ve been busier than usual lately. In fact, the whole team has been busier than usual lately with changes to the website and other organizational matters. Glenn is the web guy so normally I would think that the changes would effect his life and I wouldn’t really suffer any consequences from it. But it doesn’t work that way. Something that effects one member of our small crew seems to effect all of us, so while Glenn has born the brunt of the work on the site, it’s still eaten into the rest of our time.

We have to discuss all the changes, for example, and meeting just seems to take forever. I’m happy with the changes, though, so it’s nothing I mind. Glenn’s really polishing it up nicely. We’ve got a new forum where you can – embarrassingly for me – read people’s varied opinions on whether my current weight is a positive or a negative for my circumnavigation attempt. To tell the truth I die a little every time I see myself on camera. But if that’s what it takes to make this thing happen, I’m just going to suck it up and get on with it.

There are posts on the forum from other sailors who know about boat design too and some technical discussion about rigging type etc. Glenn has also figured out our RSS feeds and fixed them up so that people with Ipods can now get feeds of our shows.

There’s this event in Union Square tomorrow. Some sort of organized mass pillow fight. David’s going to bring the camera and I’m going to participate. I think he’s planning on using the footage next week on the show. What does that have to do with sailing, my trip, or anything? I don’t know. He says it’ll make interesting footage.

What else? I don’t know. I’m just burnt. Plus I’m writing this at work and a bunch of people just walked in so that’s my excuse to sign off.

Friday, February 03, 2006

On "Playing" The Captain

I just love playing the Captain on our show. The thing is, there is a real difference between "The Captain" and Eric Humphreys. For one, Eric Humphreys does not have a theme song. The Captain does. Thanks to our house band Travellers, The Captain has a theme song called Four Points. Eric Humphreys is lucky to get a free play out of the jukebox.

When I was a kid I had it tough. Typical 1970s family bizarro stuff. This fact resulted in me leaving home and trying to find some fun and adventure. Anything to add some sunlight to my stormy past, I guess. Anyway, through boatbuilding school and various jobs in various sailing oriented parts of the world, I finally realized what I wanted to do.

I wanted to sail around the world.

The idea of the smallest boat and the world record came later. But the thought of sailing around the world appealed to me. I never really felt at home "in a home" or later "in my apartment". The only place that felt like home was sailing on the open seas or living in my old trusty houseboat "Eggbeater" back in Nantucket.

Many people ask if I am scared of the voyage around the world. To them I say, "Look, I've already had extensive inter-continental sailing experiences, and I have already survived a two week stranding at sea." I think that says it all. My fear is more about being able to make a good show for all our viewers. I hope it isn't six months of Eric complaining about needing more laxatives or not having enough blankets.

However, I have been told by many (including my current crew) that I am a funny kind of guy, so I should be able to crank out amusing and interesting episodes. I will make sure that every episode is both amusing and interesting.

I want to thank you, our viewers, for showing an interest in this project. Without your viewership and support, there would be no Captain Humphreys Project.

Tell your friends about the website, and keep watching!