Friday, 30 April 2010

The fabulous five

This week has been more of a studying week than writing. It's been way more enjoyable than the days of reading a page in a text book five times, trying to recognise some relevance to my original interest. 
Now it's so much more multi-sensory. In addition to the reading, I've 'attended' online lectures in Oxford and London and listened to podcasts of talks given oversees. 
I'm researching a piece on communities and this has led me to the theories of anthropologists, some of which are available on the net, including the RSA website.
There's a whole feast of information gathering gently into place in my mind but the first figure that appears consistently relevant in the research is five.
We have all heard that we only need to able to count all our best friends with one hand. The theory being that we are only capable of maintaining and feeding five close friendships. 
Each relationship requires a certain amount of shared experience and/or nurturing and we don't have enough within us to have that depth of empathy for more than five.
They then become close friends up to fifteen friends, and so it goes on with lessening degrees of connection to 150, which really has to be our cut off point. After that they should be considered acquaintances. Since I started this research a couple of months ago, it has begun to make more and more sense.
If we are counting best friends as the ones we would tell our most private secrets to; someone who we would call at four in the morning if the going got tough, then I'm with the five. Between five and fifteen is the pool of people we feel really close to and would do anything for but only involve in our lives to a point.
Facebook has made Friends a very wide term and has now gone one step further and opened up the whole fan/like/follow/friend choices. 
My Friend Requests list includes companies now and looks more like a list from Yellow Pages. A bit confusing, but I may just accept the plumbers. I never know when I may need to ring them at 4am.

The Elephants are in London

 After months of painting, sticking, glueing, chissleing and moulding, these elephants have arrived in the capital. Over 250 elephants are gathering, ready to be in place for the exhibition's start on Monday, 3rd May. Each of the elephants has been decorated by designers and artists, many of whom have been sponsored. 
This is Big Heart, Open Mind by Julia Rodgers. 

Resin being added to some of the finished exhibits. 

The photographic exhibition, recording the creation of the Elephant Parade London 2010 is running now until May 14, at the Hempel Hotel in London.
A map will be published this weekend, showing the location of the 250 or so decorated elephants.
The Parade has been organised in support of the endangered Asian elephant.
For those of you in, (and awake) in London at 7.30 on Sunday morning - the organisers are calling for volunteers to meet them at Green Park or Waterloo Tube Stations to help move the elephants into place.
Visit their Facebook Page for further details.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Sprismatic the Movies - loving Google Search Stories

Ah such fun. Making our own search stories. First we had the Parisian Love Story and now
The Cookie Monster.

Then I saw the invitation to create our own ...
Sprismatic - the Movie
I may have enjoyed it a little too much. Sesame Street did it better but hey, they've been making movies longer than I have. When you have time to play, make your own Google Search Stories on Youtube
Sprismatic - Best Case Scenario

and maybe don't do as I did and "just have a look" on your way to bed ...

Earth Day turns 40 - the movie

So many fours ... Happy Birthday Earth Day - 40 today.  So what's it all been four for? Here's forty years in four minutes forty seconds ...

Friday, 16 April 2010

Warning click fest temptation

There's something about Christian Robert-Tissot's work that keeps making click back onto his website. I try to tell myself I'm not playing and that it is research. So I allowed myself to stay awhile longer until I found an example of Yellow!

Have a click yourself and enjoy
Christian Robert-Tissot

Yellow aint mellow it's energersing

Ah Spring. Ah daffodils.

Creatives get out there and walk among the daffodils. This is the colour for creativity and walking among them can help. Happily, some incredibly patient souls have planted them alongside motorways, in the middle of roundabouts and up municipal landscaping throughout the UK, but I'm not suggesting we park up on the hard shoulder and skip gayly along the embankment to recharge our creative juices. An appreciation from afar will do for them, but if you are in the city there's a few in the parks.
Despite Donovan singing Mellow Yellow, it's a lively colour. Yellow is the colour of the third chakra, the solar plexus, and there's precious little of it in our daily urban lives. Strangely what there is isn't very optimistic and cheerful. For example, I give you:

You get the idea. And yellow has yet to be the new black in fashion. It enjoys a little flutter on the catwalks and a couple of years ago it was considered on trend, but be honest, how many yellow clothing items do you have in your wardrobe?

OK. Yes that counts! 
So when we do see a flash of yellow. Lets make the most of it. 
Expect lots of beautiful ideas to come out of Washingston State soon. They are currently celebrating their 77th annual week long Daffodil Festival. 

They understand the power of the yellow.

And talking of energising, creative and inspiring ...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Stylish shrugs of fatherhood

West Country father, Dad-O-Graphic, is posting beautiful graphics of his experience of fatherhood.

They are stylish, accepting shrugs, more than screams, of what being a caring Dad is really like.
They illustrate life with a young child, but can be interpreted for any age group. This one says it all about how long it takes to get little ones to settle at night, but can also apply to the older years when they have so much to do (Facebook, homework, bebo, homework, text, homework, msn, homework, blog, homework, download music ...) that their bedtime gets later and later.
These illustrations must surely end up on a six-pack, near you, soon.
Share with any fathers you know.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Virtual love for our perfect opposite

Talking of, (well I referred to it briefly in my Penguin Dating post), here's something so completely different it could be called (maybe not, that sounds like a relationship breakup service). 
Having promoted the happiness we can enjoy once we have found people like us, I'm now going to enthuse about taking a step towards meeting our complete opposites.
Confused? Fair enough. Bare with me ... 
Couscous Global believe we learn the most about ourselves by talking to people who are different to us and who disagree with us. In their latest project, they have created "The technological translation of ... I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right of saying that"
Love Your Perfect Opposite, is an application which can be linked into many social networking sites. Register, answer a few questions and meet your closest to perfect opposites. Have a chat, have a debate and enjoy finding out why your opposites think the way they do.  Feeling sociable?
Pop over to LYPO

Couscous Global sent out an international invitation for video journals of peoples interests, nationality, cultural background etc. When the project ended, in 2009, around 300 videos had been uploaded onto its Youtube channel.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Astrology is a load of rubbish - that's one opinion

Ah the internet has been alight with the sound of argueing over Professor Brian Cox's comment on the BBC programme Wonders of the Universe. Nothing is more guaranteed to get headlines; a reaction and a top rank in Google, than a straight out statement dissing something that many follow. 
No he didn't say the X Factor is fixed. He simply said that astrology is rubbish, apparently. A little bit of "In my opinion, but I may be wrong" may have been useful. But hey maybe he did add that? But he isn't the first to say it. Just one of many


As I work on the basis of don't knock it until you've tried it and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I skimmed over the debate on Twitter. (Anyway, although I wouldn't have knocked him, I didn't see it!) But very quietly, I shall say here, I have done my own research. If you are interested click through to a piece I wrote on the subject. Just my opinion.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Sadly consumerism isn't dead but it's got more entertaining

Proving you can take the girl out of Stepford but you can't take Stepford out of the girl (see a previous blog) ...
Ever been to a Tupperware Party? Maybe your mum hosted one? If so you'll know the format and will have heard how "FANTASTIC" the product is. "You just give it a little burp and it's TOTALLY air-tight".
Well, I may mock - but I've got a cupboard full of this non-bio degradable* kitchen "its guaranteed for life!" phenomenon. (Well more than one cupboard full ... if you count the fridge and freezer containers. But they are all constantly in use).
Did you see the Forever Ware episode (pictured below) of early 90's TV series, Eerie, Indiana? It made me laugh (and cringe) because, although extreme, it's kind of spot on. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the special beds are fantasy.

Tupperware's Number One Top Sales Consultant in America 2009 is Aunt Barbara (above). See this Newsweek news report video.
She has her own channel on Youtube
I'm not promoting these plastic boxes, because there's enough temptations out there to part with our cash, but I am promoting laughter. So watch these videos for a smile and block out the sales pitch.

 * ... but the company does recycle damaged parts which are returned for replacement.

Browsing at Borders is Dead, Long Live Issuu

So now we've lost Borders (R.I.P.), where do we go to find magazines not offered by Mr. Smith?
I loved the peace of the magazine section at Borders. We were allowed to be a browser. We may have gone in looking for our favourite film mag, but chances were we'd flick through a Spanish yachting magazine and a French home decoration publication, before grabbing an A3 matt-gloss-lovely filled with mouthwatering graphics. Or maybe that was just me ...
Well now Borders have gone we can transfer our look-before-buy habits online, without worrying about getting sticky finger marks on the page (or more yukkily ... wondering what the already sticky mark was on the page).
Issuu's easy upload site has given us access to a whole load more publications, in an easy flip-through-to read format. I loved this find today. Coco Eco have a Brit Special. Flick through and read Mel Enright's piece on Page 32 "No Water Sucks".

Love Issuu. And it's stopped me gazing over other people's shoulders to see what they're reading. Which can only be a good thing. If you have uploaded your work on Issuu, please let me know.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

And now we Twitter

There's a chalk board, with it's own bah-humbug personality, outside the Earth and Stars pub in Brighton.
Having just taken the leap into the land of Twitter (see Twitter scroll board on right of this post!), I felt a little guilty.
Sorry blackboard, I've joined the tweeters. But @EASTbrighton is your complimentary sister and couldn't replace you. (I hope).

Now be nice, and make friends with the pretty bird ...

What IS that song called?

I have a friend who knows so much about music that I only have to hum a few bars and she can give me the song title, artist and a few lines of lyrics.
Very handy.
But I'm not good at holding the tune until I see her again.
Mashable have listed five handy sites which fill in for the times when our font-of-all-musical-knowledge mates aren't by our side.
Shazam has been on my speed dial for a while, but I didn't know about Midomi.

I'm looking forward to challenging Midomi's claim that it will cope with (my) out of tune humming.
And there's three more to play with. Fun.

Finding where we belong

"It doesn't matter where you come from, as long as you find where you belong" Martian Child
What makes those butterflies flutter in your stomach? What makes your heart skip a beat and causes you to gasp for air? You know the feeling. The one you had in senior school, when the hot sixth former walked past you in the corridor? Lava bubbling, sick making excitement.
Well apparentely, I get it when I'm coming home to Brighton. I got it on Monday. I was returning from 12 days in my birthtown and throughout the journey home, the butterflies were having a gala party in my tum.
My birthtown, which I shan't name because it is home to many lovely people who, I'm sure, have as much affection for it as I have for my home, is a little like Stepford.

Image from the film The Stepford Wives

If you follow this link, and read an article I wrote about individuality in Brighton, you will understand how lucky I feel to have lived in London and Brighton.

Image:  Brighton People in Words and Pictures

As John Cusack's character, David, said in the film Martian Child, "It doesn't matter where you've come from, as long as you find where you belong".
If we are lucky, we set up home where we belong.
If that isn't possible, we ensure we spend some time there. A friend of mine says he only feels truly at home when he is sitting in the Sacred Space at Glastonbury, during the festival. He works in advertising in London, has a loyalty card at Balans and wears delicious Ozwald Boateng* suits.

Image: Ozwald Boateng Suits from the V and A exhibit

But he is happiest for those six festival days.

Sacred Space at Glastonbury by Jam Frog on flickr

It is then that he feels he belongs, as he sits and watches everyone around him relax and enjoy the freedom of just being themselves.
And he gets butterflies in his stomach for months before the festival.

*  Wearing Ozwold's suits would make having to wear a suit very bearable.