I’ve been a really irresponsible blogger, I know–it’s amazing (and slightly pathetic) how much of my blogging is fueled by academic procrastination. As both excuse and reparation, I’ll start describing some of the shenanigans I’ve gotten involved in for summer “break.”

It’s common (and accepted) knowledge that my friends are way, way cooler than I am, so I’m always pretty grateful when they let me hitch a ride on their awesome-wagon (or van, in this case) and live vicariously through them. That’s why This American Summer is so fricking cool.

The basic concept is delicious because it is so simple and classic. Three college kids–in this case, my friends David, Danbee, & Alex from MIT–get in a van and explore the country. Not quite the quintessential American summer because few get the guts to actually do it, but certainly the quintessential crazy American idea for how to pass a summer. Not only did they follow through where others have gotten lazy, though, the gang has actually gone beyond by documenting–and even planning–their adventures extensively online. They are Twittering, Flickring, blogging, vlogging, and doing all kinds of other buzzwordy things that are cooler in practice than they are to talk about. Best of all, they’re planning to release all the stuff under CC so that others can share it and remix from it to their heart’s content. Vicarious living made legally sound.

Alex riding a horse for the first time!
Alex rides a horse for the first time!

My minor part in all of this, other than intense envy and admiration, is as part of “Mission Control,” a small but loving team that helps them do the stuff they can’t do on the road. Like designing their website. This was my first foray into web design, so if you have any suggestions (or bug reports, teehee), please let me know!

They’ve been on the road for almost a month now, traveling from Colorado through the Midwest and the South. They’ve broken tent poles and van windows, but they’ve also tried honeysuckle dew and driven through sunflower-covered hills. They’ll be in Miami tonight: if you know of anything cool to do there (or anywhere else they’re going), please let them know through their forums!