This Flight Tonight - Last Blog from Brazil
[Posted to Random Bytes on March 29, 2003 12:18 AM| Links to this post ]

"She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien's theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage."

"Pattern Recognition" - William Gibson.

Rael is once again on the plane, acolyte in tow, slightly tanned and smiling at me as I board with only minutes to spare. Actually, I'm not sure if that was a smile or some sly acknowledgement of a secret that we share but I don't fully know about. Ira Levin indeed. Conspiracy is a welcomed friend to an idle mind.

The steward's greeting confirms that it is possible to deplane, run, luggage in tow through four terminals and convince the counter agent that you really need her to replace the airline ticket that you carelessly left on the poolside table when the rain broke out. The delays in the Skinner boxes that masquerade as security and customs is where the passengers start to gnaw at one another during this run through Sao Paulo Guarulhos. The last, it was the luggage carousel. With luck, you can navigate the gauntlet in one hour and ten minutes. Optimism and appropriately completed exit documents can make or break the journey.

I received a lot of email this week encouraging me to blog more about the meetings. Truth be told, there wasn't a lot more to report.

The meetings work like this.

Day one exists to jockey for last minute position, curry last minute favor and uncovering whom is thinking what. Those who do not acquire a strong understanding of the landscape by this point will not generally do well over the next few days. These are called "constituency meetings".

The rubber hits the road on day two. The counsel meets and each constituency lays out their bottom line. Compromises of varying values are forged and carried by a vote of the representatives. The chair will wash, rinse and repeat as necessary to deal with all of the items on the agenda.

Day three, open forum. An endless parade of reports from the committees, panels, advisory groups and constituencies that make up ICANN. Sometimes board members ask questions of the presenters. Sometimes an audience member asks questions. Sometimes someone in the audience gets mad and unloads on the presenter in the guise of a question. Others just get up to the microphone to hear themselves talk. The assembled board members listen and compare the oratory with what they've learned from hallway conversations, teleconferences, written reports and lobbyist button-holings.

Which brings us to day four. The board then measures everything they've heard over the past few days, combines it with corporate policy, a measure of political voodoo and some good old fashioned horse sense and allows the resultant concoction to somehow guide their vote on the individual resolutions before them.

So the, what happened to the blogstream? The truth is, all of this, save the constituency meetings, are a matter of the public record. ICANN's simulcast and the minutes are accurate to the word. There isn't a lot of value that I could add to the real-time notes of the scribe or the webcast. If you want to be informed, take charge of things and spend a few hours with the webcast.

But, there are things that the scribes and webcams don't do justice. Social gossip, tidbits from the hallways, general impressions of Rio itself. This is where the blogging attendees can bring real value. Tonight is not the night, my soul is spooling out behind me and for the first time this week, midnight here and midnight home is the same thing. It is late by every measure, and besides, I need to do some pattern recognition of my own before I know what parts are the good parts.

"Cachorro que muito late mau companheiro."
- Brazilian Proverb

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