The deconstruction of a My Little Pony

November 25th, 2008 § 6 comments § permalink

How to remove a My Little Pony from it’s package without causing it any animal cruelty.
First, start with one My Little Pony, straight from the shop. I bought mine from Kmart.
Towards the upper right hand side of the My Little Pony body, locate a plastic hairnet of sorts. With scissors, carefully trim the plastic until a fish line thread gets loose. Pull it off.
Now go to the lower right hand side of your My Little Pony. Find the accessory. This may be a hairbrush, sunglasses etc.
Remove the accessory.
Play with My Little Pony. I like to brush the mane to give it a smooth feel.
Go back to the box. Fish around for the My Little Pony booklet.
Read the blatant advertising. Wish you got that stuff instead.
I bought this besides being 22-years-old and it was the best purchase of this month.

Overseas birthday card

November 11th, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Here’s an overseas birthday card for those that are away from their loved ones. It’s black and white so make this huge and personalise it without freaking out about using all the ink in your printer.

I sent it to my brother in Australia while I’m here in the States. I covered it in crayon colours. By the time I was done, she had yellow hair and a red dress. You can’t go wrong with crayon.

In a bid to include single people and couples, I’ve made two cards. One that says “I’m not there” and the other that says “We’re not there”.

Open the image in a new tab to see it non-stretchy. Share the love.

Enjoy.

The new language of writers

November 7th, 2008 § 4 comments § permalink

alt textPaulo Coehlo also has free postcards available for download

Paulo Coehlo published his first book after 35 years of wild music journalism, mystical explorations and pop song writing.

His most famous book to date is The Alchemist, a story that has a consistent habit of changing people’s lives and is often mistakenly pushed into the New Age section of bookstores. There is no genre for the types of books he writes.

Coehlo is 61-years-old and he is the child of Web 2.0. He has a blog that he’s been regularly updating since March 2007, he uploads pictures from his personal and public life on his flickr site and when you add him on twitter, he actually follows you back. Coehlo has the tough exterior needed to regularly upload to YouTube. He believes the more you give online, the more you receive offline and the sales of his books are proof.

In 1999 Coehlo was having trouble selling his books in Russia. He noticed, however, that a pirated digital copy of the Alchemist was circulating so he uploaded his own digital copy, for free, on his website. In the first year, sales jumped from 1,000 copies to 10,000 copies. Two years later, he was selling a million books in the territory and today he has sold more than ten million books there.

He continues to give books away for free. A terrific one which I suggest to download is Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren.

In a recent speech to open the Frankfurt Book Fair, Coehlo said (and then consequently uploaded to his blog):

“[When it comes to] sharing ideas…the technologies that succeed are the technologies that enable ideas to circulate and touch the widest possible audience.

“The web does not involve production and distribution costs. And because of that, we are seeing a paradigm shift. From this moment onwards, the democratisation of an idea, made first possible thanks to the Gutenberg press, starts to reach a whole new scale. Little by little, people start to understand that

alt text

a) they can publish virtually anything and put it on the web for anyone to see if so they wish

b) they are their own broadcasters, i.e. they have their own television channel – such as YouTube – or their own radio show – such as BlogTalkRadio.

This way, they are no longer passive spectators of society’s transformations, but interfere in the collective process. Consequently, as long as you have an Internet connection, the creature becomes the creator. The user becomes someone that not only has something to tell, but who is also able to share their likes and dislikes.

“Yet what I saw as a writer came as a surprise, and a lack of understanding of the web on the part of the industry…given that books as media are still widely used, why not share the
whole digital content of books for free? Contrary to what common sense tells us – and common sense is not always a good guide, otherwise publishers, booksellers and writers would probably be doing something more profitable – the more you give, the more you gain.

“Of course, I make a living out of my copyrights, but at this very moment I am not concentrating on this. I have to adapt myself. Not only by connecting more directly with my readers – something unthinkable a few years ago – but also by developing a new language, Internet-based, that will be the language of the future: direct, simple, without being superficial.

Time will tell me how to recover the money I myself am investing alone in my social communities. But I am investing in something for which every single writer in the world would be grateful: to have his texts read by a maximum of people.

The Internet has taught me this: don’t be afraid of sharing your ideas. Don’t be afraid of engaging others to voice their ideas. And more importantly, don’t presume who is and who is not a creator – because we all are.

Thank you, Paulo Coehlo.

alt text

The one thing that has stuck to me from a degree in journalism is: the greatest writers convey complicated ideas using simple words. This is becoming especially important in new media. When no one (precisely, hardly anyone) is getting paid for their opinion, people will write the truth as they see it.

Most magazines, yes, I’m attacking you GQ, Cosmopolitian et al, have succumbed to advertorials. It’s frustrating as a reader to find out that my “cure to dry skin” or latest feature is actually a list of products or a shout-out to a restaurant. Where is the truth?

The media has been hyperventilating about the downward spiral of recession for the last month so it’s always good to focus on a positive story that gives writers, bloggers and any creative being strength amidst all the doom and gloom.

I have a habit to take the web for granted. It’s over-saturation. We can do so many amazing things online. Research that used to take journalists and historians weeks of searching now takes a 0.02 of a second.

Our pictures, videos and words can be viewed by millions around the globe for absolutely nothing at any given time. Think about that for a second. It’s like the old saying of only using ten percent of your brain. Perhaps we only harness ten percent of the internet’s power. We need to let our guards down, to be more willing to give more of ourselves. And I’m going to start by publishing this.

How do you give your stories/ideas online? Are you scared of putting too much information out in this all-encompasing web?

Contrary to what common sense tells us…the more you give, the more you gain – Paulo Coehlo

Instant Polaroid Pleasure

November 1st, 2008 § 4 comments § permalink

The American Polaroid company declared that they’ve stopped manufacturing cameras and films and are expected to run out in 2009. Oh no! I am in love with Polaroids but buying a camera and film is so bloody expensive compared to the magic of digital point and shoot.

My impersonation of Rosie the Riveter for Halloween 08

But wait, it’s not the end of the world. There is a solution. And it’s free and fun.

I’ve been going trigger happy with a Polaroid program that allows you to drag your photos onto a Polaroid camera on your screen and wait for them to upload. This automatically creates different polaroid effects for your photo and saves it into your Pictures file. The cool thing is, if you shake the processing picture all over your desktop, it takes less time.

I think this works only for macs which could be a bit of a whinge for some people.

You can download the Polaroid Creating Magic Machine and have a go at it!

While I was going Polaroid happy, I found this awesome art/sociology/psychology exhibition. The creators Nicole Kenney and Ks Rives travel the States and take pictures of people while they’re answering the question “What do you want to do before you die?”.

I’ve included an interesting theory that the two women had about making a verbal contract with someone:

“Safety contracts are a common tool used by psychologists when treating suicidal patients. When psychologists find someone to be suicidal, if they ask them to give their word that they will not harm them self until help comes, often times the potential victim will choose to remain alive based on this promise. Likewise, the best thing a layperson can do if they find someone to be suicidal is to ask that person to promise not to harm themselves until professional help comes. That human connection of making a promise to someone and understanding that someone cares, notices, and expects something is motivation to stay safe. Although that is an extreme example, we are hoping that Before I die I want to… will work in the same way. By asking people to state out loud/write down something they want to do before they die and to be aware we will be checking up on them in a number of years, we believe that this will add significantly to their motivation to accomplish their goal. The added fact that the photos and statements will be published online and in print will urge people to fulfill their desires.”

A busker’s guitar at Strawberry Fields in New York.

This idea is brilliant. Everyone should make promises more often. Have a look at their online exhibition. Some of my faves include “Before I die I want to continue doing the wonderful things I’ve done with the amazing people in my life” and “I’m ok with what has happened so far”.

Send me links to all of your polaroid images and any good instant photo memories.

Later crazy cats!

P.S The Polaroid Project has now made the application for both PCs and Macs. Yipee! Find it here.