Arizona sky under evening colors, welcoming be back. That's no bug, sa spotted by Andy Rush, but shadow of my truck.

Scottlo avatar pencil guyOkay Scottlo, I am on track to follow your lead of Always Be Reflecting. Scottlo, aka Scott Lockman, is one of my friends i have never met, an educator in Japan who connected via the narrowest of chances to ds106radio. For the past few weeks, he has been engaging in a practice of audio reflections (see Slices of Life 01 ““ Introducing the Project).

As described, it came out of his interesting in Action Research, and in his audio discourses- with himself on the streets of Tokyo– he uses it as a platform to sort out his challenges in teaching and more–

But in thinking this through, a bigger question has emerged. And it is a question I’ve not given enough time to thinking about. I’m not very clear on how to word the question yet. It goes something like: what does it mean to be a teacher? or what am I trying to accomplish in the classroom?

There are a number of things I find fascinating about what he is doing, and be prepared as he self-deprecatingly pushes my praise aside–

  • There is some power in talking to yourself out loud (hint, use a mobile phone and act like you are on a call).
  • It occurs on a different plane of thinking than writing; I have long held the belief in the power of refelcting while blogging, but in writing, much gets filtered, or edited, or synthesized from thought to typing. Talking is more free flow, like a conduit from the brain.
  • Putting it in public makes you accountable (to yourself) but opens up the channel for connection, feedback, criticism, etc that would not be possible in a closed journal exercise. Scottlo says he is creating an archive of his thinking of teaching over a 4 month period, and sees it as a rich source of data.
  • And though it may jusy be a matter of setting, one of the things I like best is that he takes his recording out into the spaces he is living in- walking to the train, sitting in a park (with birds, kids, dogs barking), at the hotel he takes naps in, walking to his classroom, our in traffic (among the vans full of generals)… this whole biut of ambiance gives a true sense of his setting, and I feel more connected then if he recorded in a clean, sterile studio.
  • This process which I am trying here- takes time ;-) I sat and listened again to my own recording, and that playback feels important, and took notes to include here on the post.

I am not in a place to go completely regular, but am interested in trying. These posts should be aggregated here via and the audio should be RSS-ified via

Here we go (with trepidation…)

Slice 001: Under the Big Sky

Friday November 18: Driving west of Albuquerque, last day of my 5 month Odyssey, about halfway through long 620 mile drive from Amarillo, Texas, to home in Strawberry, Arizona.

It was here, 24 years ago driving out to Arizona for my start as a graduate student, driving my 1973 ford Maverick (with Dominoe by my side). I stopped here because my odometer had flipped, and even then, I had this thing about documenting in photos (film camera then: I cannot find the photo now)

Albuquerque is nicknamed “Duke City” I could not remember at the time, but The Google has answers

In the early 1700s, King Philip of Spain granted a group of Spanish colonists permission to to start a new city along the banks of the Rio Grande. The colony’s governor, Francisco Cuervo y Valdez wrote a letter to the Duke of Albuerquerque in Spain, reporting the new settlement and its name: the Villa de Alburquerque. They had named their new city after the Duke.

I thought of that while driving down the steep grade of I-40 from the east, and the key part that hill played in the movie Lonely Are the Brave, based on the Edward Abbey novel The Brave Cowboy (I used this early in the year for the ds2106 movie assignment).

It was Carroll O’Connor playing the truck driver, a load of toilets, of all symbolic things, that led him down the hill toward Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) in a big way.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Leaving Amarillo I had stopped to see the Cadillac Ranch, the modern art piece consisting of 10 Cadillacs planted in the ground, where which you are welcome to create your own messages in spray paint– which I did:

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I had meant to stop here in my first trip out in 1987, and completely missed it, I think because I had turned off I-40 prior to get to Palo Duro Canyon. So I was closing an old loop.

It was welcoming to be returning to the familiar high desert landscape- feels like home to me, especially the sky. This always leads me to the prophetic writing of Willa Cather:

The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still, “” and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one’s feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!

That statement, Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. so makes a difference to me of the East versus the West.

I had listened to a whole swath of Scottlo’s Slices of Life – I think it was episode I had just heard Slice 029 ““ This’ll even juice up your libido. Scottlo shared the story of how he found ds106, via a chance browsing of his feed reader, and one blog in particular he had listed but never read (my blog!), and just happened to peak at an early post about ds106 radio (I am fuzzy, was it the one about being sucked into the radio??)

If not for what is really a chance action, all of who cherish Scottlo would be at a loss, we would miss his personality, his music, his ideas, his sharing of those challenging days after the Tokyo earthquake- broadcasting his first skype call to his Mom— those broadcasts were to me what took ds106radio from a curiosity into something new, powerful, life changing.

While I marvel and cherish how such slim a circumstance that we make the connections- how many more don’t happen? How many more potential people out there have I not found yet? I feel infinity nearby.

And it reminded me of the poem Claudia Ceraso had shared — about dreams being places of friends you have not met– as she wrote to me

A Spanish poet, explaining what dreams were to him, said: “I only know I know a lot of people I have never met”.

The Internet is like a dream. A real one.

Scottlo is a person I know whom I have never met. And it almost does not matter.

So I would like to write a song that begins with Scottlo’s expressions like== “Taking the train to Chiba…”

On this recording on, I amusing my iPad with Griffin iTalk – it has a easy to use big red button, and the wireless transfer option for paid version ($1.99 woot), as well as the big clock for recording time.

So here we are- ABR– Always Be Reflecting


So that is my first slice. Technically, I had a bit more at the end of the day when I walked into my house for the first time in 5 months.

Here, I am, with all of you, friends among the dream of the internet, friends like Scottlo, under the sky, the sky, the sky!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I love that you bought 2 cans of yellow spraypaint. You know, that could be the source of your thrill at tagging the cars… yellow does that. Thrilling colour, simply thrilling!

  2. Scottlo is ds106radio and you pay him awesome and deserved tribute here. And then the spray paint on the Caddy? You are really a good blogger, an Scottlo found ds106 through this blog, man—give a dog a blog.

  3. I will not deflect this warm and generous praise in any way. Thank you Alan. The thoughtfulness of everything you’ve written here moves me deeply.

    Indeed it was your “When ds106 radio sucks you in” post which allowed me to come into contact you and all other beautiful ds106 people. For that post and the countless other ways you’ve provided inspiration, encouragement I am grateful.

    And though I’ve yet to listen to your first slice (it will accompany on my upcoming train ride to Chiba), I’m staggered by treatment you’ve given the process with Slice 001. I only wish I had the time, patience, and skill to present the audio with such rich imagery and textual context.

    In other words, you are a jim-dandy writer!

    Thank you for showing what heights this sort of method/process can obtain.

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