Yay, I have found an exercise that I can be bothered to get off the sofa for (and you can play it right next to the sofa so WIN!). Not just discovered but invented; I came up with the concept, Pete Ashton then refined the techniques involved in this brand new sport.
It is called Hackybeanpouffe.
I’ll just let that sink in for a second.
Hackybeanpouffe is a cross between hackysack and volleyball, but played with a giant bean-bag type cushion. You get three hits before you must pass it back. It should be played with an imaginary net, preferably to its theme tune (see below).
Although surprisingly aerobic due to the effort involved in manipulating beans mid-air, Hackybeanpouffe can be dangerous – the dust, the dust mites, the heavy aerobic breathing; all of these may contribute to sneezing, stuffiness, red itchy eyes, and possibly an asthma attack.
So Hackybeanpouffe: aerobic but allergenic.
Witness the birth of Hackybeanpouffe on YouTube – and note its theme music Cafe Vixen, by Glatze/Ms Hypnotique, which you can buy for a snip (EP £2.99) from Glatze:
Fuelled by Kanye West‘s ridiculously wrong Tweet about hating stickers on laptops, I was impelled to blog not just my laptop stickers but also my stickered up old guitar, my songbook, my diaries and any other stuff I could lay my sticky little hands on.
So tonight, I blogged over on Tourist Vs Traveller about pimping travel diaries, only to realise that you can’t embed slideshows in WordPress.com. So, because I made one, and because I have an urgent need to share my sticker love, here is it below.
And for the full sticker addiction, you can view all 39 pics here as a Flickr set called, yup, Stickers.
…is better parties, social occasions, family life and harmony. Possibly.
Yes, the Creative Commons licensing of your content has the direct side-effect of shareability, clarity and time efficiency of not chasing copyright permissions. But it also has the real-world, real-time impact of more people (hopefully) attending what is a truly lovely family event in Birmingham this weekend. And here’s why – in a 24-hour timeline:
Saturday 12.00: Yesterday, I took photographs at a family day out at this weekend’s Traditional Edwardian Fete at Winterbourne House and Garden, and as is my habit, set them uploading to my Flickr photo account, during the making of dinner. Here’s the set of 60 and also in slideshow format:
Saturday 22.00: After adding a few captions and tags and the like, at midnight I posted the link to the family on Facebook, and then also posted to Twitter.
No need to contact me first; the pics were released under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial licence.
He then let me know via Flickr comments and Twitter that it was up – just in time to get the word out to more potential visitors.
Sunday 12.00: Hopefully, as a result, many more people will get to enjoy this lovely house, garden and fete – as it was intended, full of promenading Edwardians, the bluebell wood still just about in flower, cream teas on the terrace, cheese-rolling skittles and coconut shies on the lawn, and donkey rides down in the glade. And now, by doing something interesting with my content, Nick’s driven me to blog about it too. 😉
Winterbourne Gardens Traditional Edwardian Fete is on til 5pm today in Edgbaston, a stroll from the Barber Institute, King Edwards School and Birmingham University. £6 for adults, concession £4, under fives, free.
Ooh, just realised I can create a slideshow on Flickr. So while waiting for today’s Traditional Edwardian Fete photo set to upload to my favourite photo-sharing platform, here are my top 50 photos (imo). It’s a personal pick since joining Flickr in September 2008. And if you don’t fancy the slideshow, feel free to browse through the 50 Favourites set on site, photo by gloriously random photo. 😉
For those who need a reason to scoot through, there are pics here from:
The desert where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed
The murder of crows in my local park
A haunted furnace in Birmingham, Alabama
Light-painting with an illuminated gyroscope
Rice representations of human populations
And neon No Farting sign in a pork ribs shack
And who should open the show but, natch, the lovely Pete Ashton, who was the one who pointed out how easy it is to do a Flickr slideshow. Full circle.
After a week of unusual nights out– featuring trampolining, Balkan and Israeli folk dancing and ukulele to name three – tonight had the potential to be the weirdest yet.
The Box of Frogs theatre impro workshop is held in Moseley, Birmingham’s arty, crusty and eclectic postcode, every Tuesday evening. For just a fiver, you can revisit your inner child for two hours of pretend, singing, mirroring, general making things up on the spot and playing games called things like ‘Zip Zap Boing’.
Now let me just say, I am not the dramatic type and hate being put on the spot. I used to be very shy and hid behind my mother’s skirts when people came to the house. I also hated acting at school and found it false, stressful and humiliating. As an adult I can hardly breathe when speaking in public. Oh and being a ginger, I blush to the roots.
And yet… I admire people who can perform naturally, who can wing it at a talk or who can give a confident or charming presentation. And there is something (megalomania?) within me that drives me towards taking the lead. I also seem to have an occasional exhibitionist streak and have sung/played on stage (for Gordon Brown) in what now seems like another lifetime.
Finding an improv session in Birmingham was part of my SXSW Interactive follow-up, after feeling particularly inspired by the fun, games and confidence-building at a session called Improv Lessons for Freelancers.
Box of Frogs featured seven players and was fascinating, supportive and not at all embarrassing. This was unexpected considering that tonight I have had to perform a contemporary dance about dog walking, sing in fluent nonsense and play a bank manager so obsessed with a potential loan customer’s spectacles that she just had to touch them and get them for herself.
Because the great thing about improv is that nothing you do is wrong! For once, the brain can take a day off from fretting about getting it right.
Which was a particularly good thing – because I spent the first 10 minutes in the church next door doing vocal exercises with the local choir.
November 5, 2009: The local Bonfire Night shows were few, far and in-between; the Coop fresh out of sparklers. And besides, it was raining.
In creative frustration, we came up with the idea of photographing indoor fireworks – Pete suggested throwing some bicarbonate of soda onto the gas ring, or salt, or pepper. I suggested a safer option: domestic prettiness in the form of standby lights, digital clockfaces, blinking answer machine light, candles, pilot light, torches etc. In the modern home, it’s amazing what you find when you turn off the lights.
That’s when I discover my old Powerball – the world’s fastest hand-held gyroscope.
So with a whirring gyroscope in one hand, I switch off the lights and press the shutterbutton on the camera, which is placed on a tripod in front of a mirror. Then it’s 10 seconds of lightpainting, then 8, 6, finally settling on 4 seconds for optimum alien prettiness.
The full set are all on my Flickr page – I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. The shapes are the main thing so I’ve played with the colour balance in Photoshop. The gyroscope ones sort of remind me of the Aliens set.
It looks like I’ve reached that moment in a blogger’s life when you log into your poor neglected blog(s), make apologies to folks for the lack of posting, explain why and then make a new promise to report back a bit more often in future.
Except… as Neil Gaiman once said (not sure who actually coined this): ‘Never apologise, never explain.’
Sooo, suffice it to say, that I have spent the last year in transition in many, many ways. One of the biggest changes has been going permanent on digital ‘stuff’ from a 20-year background in print journalism. How did this happen?
Well, in February 2008, I started a blog in my spare time (What to wear where), a good idea but ill-carried out by me while I got to grips with Web 2.0 changes.
Then I started Subs’ Standards in August 2008 – all about sub-editing and its changing nature in the digital world – and started to get the hang of things a bit more, thanks in the main to Pete Ashton‘s free social media surgeries. I’m well overdue to post on that blog, too, as I’m now only very occasionally subbing, and it’s digital subbing at that – which is quite a different type of ‘quality control’ beast.
Anyways… updating my digital chops late into the night after a hard day in print was exhausting – and salary-free. I did it for three months almost solidly but it got me into Seven Squared‘s digital team, which was in need of a web editor, back in January 2009. And now I’m busier than ever, corporate blogging for clients and producing a variety of digital work from ezines to SEO features.
Going to SXSWi back in March 2009 also gave me a load of context for working purely online, as well as a whole load of new ideas for playing with online content plus a contact book full of innerestin’ webby types from all over the world. I recommend it for anyone working online and trying to get their head around the bigger picture. (And yes, before you ask, it’s also a big festival with lots of bands and parties in the rather cool uni city of Austin, Texas.)
Unfortunately, working long hours in Seven’s digital bunker means I have little time to ‘rawk SXSW’ and so change has come again.
From October, I’ll be living and working in Birmingham, with my blog mentor Pete Ashton, as it happens. Turns out romance can blossom in the blurry gaps between online and offline.
I’ll still be corporate blogging for Seven Squared’s digital team, I hope, and maybe writing an SEO feature or two. And before I leave London I’ll also be joining a great new event (and site) for brand managers and those who represent a brand online, courtesy of Jo Geary – and maybe even guest-blogging on there if she’ll let me.
But for now I just want to say that I’m looking forward to the next era – to meet new people in Brum, and give myself some headspace to decide which projects to start/play with/experiment with in the West Mids, which seems to be something of a hot bed of ‘social media’ goings-on, if the SXSW rival WXWM, the new FAILcamp and other such events are anything to go by.
I’ll also be looking for blogging or other content creation work, probably in the commercial sector, or quality control work for corporate clients. If you think you might want something like this, please do get in touch.
So, life has switched and instead of working in London and visiting Brum at weekends, I’ll be working and thinking in Birmingham instead and visiting London for work days here and there, and sociables at the weekends. So if you’re in either vicinity, find me online (@fionacullinan if you’re on Twitter) and come say hi.
As they say, change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.
PS. (I’m a serial PS blogger.) Apologies if you get this 10 times in your feed, my WordPress preview appears to have karked it.
Who was Ada? Ada Lovelace was one of the world’s first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programmes for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.
In celebrating Ada Lovelace Day (March 24), bigging up women in tech, I look back at those I have met since I ‘went online’ as a journalist in 2000.
It’s a short list – unfortunately – but hopefully one that will grow in time. I could choose from Fiona Romeo, Head of Digital Media at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory; Adrienne Wyper, deputy editor at AllAboutYou.com, Adrienne Grubb, web editor at Redwood Publishing, Joanna Geary, web development editor at The Times; and a couple of others – all journalists who have pioneered their way online in various ways.
But it’s Anita Bevan, now head of content for web and mobile at Orange UK, who I’d like to acknowledge as my first female role model of the internets. Anita gave me my first break as web producer for the women’s portal, iCircle.com, in 2000 and forgave me various freelance absences to invite me back as homepage editor for Freeserve.
I learned so much from that time that has served me well in shifting online for the second time, from sub-editor/writer to web editor. And having a female role model has definitely helped me develop the balls to ‘tech up’. In the meantime, Anita has managed to surf the changes from Freeserve, the UK’s largest portal at the time, to Wanadoo to Orange and the world of mobile content.
The funny thing is, I vaguely recognised her name when I went for that first iCircle interview. In the lift, she seemed even more familiar. I was sure I’d met her somewhere before. Well, she remembered me. Turns out, she had been my personal tutor at the London College of Printing.
So now we’ve been connected for, eek, 21 years. I hope it’s as nice for the Ada Lovelaces of the world to see their charges go forward as it is for us to benefit from their influence. In turn, perhaps we can pass on what we know and help other women make the transition that we have made or are making.
In that vein, I’m offering some one-to-one blog tutorials in my lunch hour to any women/girls/dragqueens, etc, who are thinking of setting up a blog or wondering how to get started online. I’m in the Waterloo area of London (mostly) or in Birmingham (occasionally). Tea/coffee optional. Email me at email@example.com to arrange.
Spent all day in Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator where the cream of the internet start-ups compete via 2-min elevator pitches to be crowned winner in their category. Kind of a Crufts for online business.
Interviewed Weardrobe founder SuzanneZ – whose fashion social network community was predicted to be the NBT (next big thing) by Guy Kawasaki. She’s 24, beautiful and got out of banking just ahead of the financial meltdown to put her and partner’s Facebook for fashionistas out there. One to watch.
The male panel, which included Robert Scoble didn’t get it initially, but when they did, the sense of excitement about the project was obvious, as they joked: ‘How do we invest?’