Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Some books, and an attempt at creative writing...

Do It Tomorrow
A book I picked up from The Discovery Centre in Winchester is 'Do it Tomorrow' by Mark Forster, which I have found quite liberating, even just putting a couple of his tips into action over the last 2-3 days, and am slowly getting myself a bit more sorted and prioritised (rather than spending ALL my time trying to find a job, I still want to get some of my other projects moving). I thought I was pretty good at time management - I completed a PhD after all, that doesn't happen on it's own, however I am guilty of trying to do too much and of getting distracted by what comes in! Mark works on a system of 'Closed Lists', allowed space for some urgent things to crop up. He urges us to have a default of "I'll do it tomorrow" for everything we're asked to do, as we can only do one days one in one day, and PLAN for tomorrow, and just do one days work in one day!!! If people know that when you say you'll do it tomorrow, you really will, efficiency levels will improve. It'll take practice but it's an unusual approach and I think it works!

The Write Brain
I picked up this book "The Write Brain" by Bonnie Neubauer last year, and it's in my pile of "things to do". Yesterday, I decided that I was going to do ONE exercise from this book at least 5 days out of 10 (along with my plan, which is going pretty well, to read at least one chapter of The Message every day). So, I've done it for the past 2 days... it promises only 10 minutes for an exercise as you shouldn't think too much about what you're writing...! So, here's today's exercise (you may see a few more of these):

Resolution Revolution
Use each letter as you get to it (marked in bold): New Year's resolutions make me...

Nervous because no one ever sticks to them! It has just become a joke for everyone - no one thinks "Well, I must do it", yet every year everyone does it, every year we all make the same tired old promises but set no action plans to go with them. Over and over again we resolve to lose weight, to write that book, to stick with whatever we promised someone! Over and over again this falls through. We make no definite plans to see us through to the next stage. However, if we saw each days as a new day, fresh and new with lovely chance to do u-turns, and focus on ourselves and what we want to achieve/contribute to the world then we just commit to making that first step, then the next step, over the course of time those small steps will build up to a great journey, fulfilling God's purpose in our lives!

And that was it... There's an option at the base of each page to do more. Today's was "New Year's resolutions are passé. Think New Day resolutions instead. What new writing-related thing do you resolve to do in the next 24 hours?

Mine are:
  • Do tomorrow's exercise in 'The Write Brain'
  • Work on my review for 'Easy Virtue' for Damaris Culturewatch (already part-way there)
  • Add another entry to the blog (this one!)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas

As I disappear offline for the Christmas period, wanted to wish everyone a Happy Christmas for 2008, and a great start to 2009!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (unusually) kept me occupied for several evenings whilst travelling through Asia (I have been known to read 3-4 books in a day!). I hadn't realised until I started to read it, and found the odd bit of text slipping off the page, that I'd bought one of the notorious photocopied texts so easy to find in South East Asia (not much respect for intellectual property there!).

Stupid as it sounds, it hadn't really registered in my consciousness that the author was male, and I certainly hadn't realised that he was American. The author of the book appeared to have got into the mind of a Geisha so well, that many people believe that she was a real character - she's not, she's fictional, but he apparently did his research well!

So, last night, I borrowed my friend's DVD and watched the film and all the extras. I can't remember the ins and outs of the book, but with the time lapse, I certainly didn't notice anything particularly jarring/missing, and really enjoyed the film, which was well-paced and intriguing. I enjoyed the extras even more (as always... watching the 'Making of Shrek' was very inspirational for writing a chapter on the way an artist approached poster design for my PhD), and it was fascinating to see how the authenticity was approached, with each actress undergoing 6 weeks of Geisha 'boot camp', working with Liza Dalby, the only western woman ever to become a Geisha (as a part of her PhD research). 

Even more interesting was that the director/producer said that they looked to establish what were the rules/authenticity, and then looked for ways to re-interpret that in a more modern way that would work for film. 


Monday, 22 December 2008

DespairWear and Subversion!


I love the subverted messages that come through from Despairwear (in fact any recognisable brand that can be subverted is of interest, has been so since I have seen people subverting the Second World War posters that I spent many years studying for my PhD!)

I thought this t-shirt was particularly apt, as I don't think I've quite found my focus with this blog yet, so it's likely to be highly relevant, ah, the New Year, all will change... right?!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Winchester e-network

To go, or not to go?
I've signed up to go to a talk tonight at Winchester School of Art (room unspecified!). I'm not sure that this is as valuable as checking through my interview preparation for tomorrow, 2 hours to decide...!

Web Analytics: An Entrepreneur’s Tale. Professor David Jackson.
David Jackson is the Chief Executive of Site Intelligence Ltd . Site Intelligence are a leading developer and supplier of Business Intelligence software systems to international blue chip organisations including Dyson, Open University, SAP, B&Q, Tesco, Boots, and Cancer Research UK. David has a proven track record of business development and international management, having played a leading role in taking Oxford Molecular Group plc from start up to a major international company. He has operated at Board level as Chairman, Chief Executive, Chief Operating Officer and Business Development director in a number of private and public companies.

With a PhD in Natural Product Chemistry, he built an internationally recognized research group at the University of Nottingham specialising in the application of advanced biophysical and computational methods to the issue of rational drug design based on natural product templates. The group raised over £3M in funding in 1990/91 and was regarded as one of the leading European groups of its kind and played a significant role in the department’s 5* research rating. He has over 200 publications in recognized journals and currently holds an honorary professorship at the University of Nottingham.

Given the massive global shifts in advertising spend towards the internet and the power of web analytics to measure and model the impact of web communications, David’s presentation has much to offer entrepreneurs in start-up businesses through to multinational organisations. For the School of Art, David’s work and thinking have major implications for the worlds of Web and Advertising Design. In 2007 he was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art.

Site Intelligence Ltd
Site Intelligence is a market leader in web analytics, providing a range of enterprise level products and services that deliver a measurable and quantifiable return on investment for online marketing and e-business initiatives. The highly adaptable core application, VBIS (Visitor Behaviour Information System) is available with standard tools or can be tailored to fit precisely to customers needs, and transforms online business data into accurate, adaptable and actionable information - enabling customers to gain the insights they need quickly and cost-effectively.
Site Intelligence products and services are used by organisations across a wide range of industry sectors and span all types of website, including transactional e-commerce sites, brand communication channels and portals, online publishing, extranets and intranets.

Comment from Paul Wright, Website Manager, Dyson plc
"We changed our existing web analytics provider to Site Intelligence, having looked at four of the leading vendors in the UK. Perhaps the most powerful element which convinced us about Site Intelligence was the VBIS SiteViewer which is very easy to use through its intuitive design and clearly identified core ‘hotspots’ on our website."

Monday, 8 December 2008

Church Army
I have an interview with the Church Army on Wednesday, first pointed in the way of the post by Graham Nunn, who's been a great encouragement, and great fun to talk to!! He spoke on an Oak Hall reunion I was leading, and had everyone laughing and thinking about what he was saying... we're all big kids really so his work with kids as 'an idiot for God' is appropriate to us all! I first heard of Church Army a long time ago when I worked with Val Thom when I lived in Brazil in 1994, and then was alerted to their new website via the Bible Society newsletter, since when I'd been keeping an eye on it. Last night went to St Michael and All Angels in Andover to see if I could meet Jade Watson, her husband Peter (who's having his video done in January) or Chris Lawton, all of whom work for the Church Army. I met Peter and the vicar Chris, and had a bit of a chat, but mostly watched the two of them at work, engaging with the kids, and encouraging them to take part in Slum Survivor.


Online Business Card

Just picked up on this e-card from Retagger, and been playing with a way to pull together a number of those Web 2.0 applications I've been playing around with! 

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Where has the week gone?

The week has disappeared in starting on the journey to becoming a life coach, job searches/applications, interviews with temping agencies, many hours of freelance work using Joomla, and generally re-aquainting myself with Winchester, and some of the people in it! It's been great being back on Campus at the University of Winchester where I still know so many people... it's a lovely, friendly, community-based University... of course it's not perfect, but I like it!

Discovery Centre
I was very impressed to get a chance for a real look at the Discovery Centre (formerly 'The Library). Spectacular looking building, friendly staff (although I'm not too sure about the 'sweatshirt' look), and up-to-date books which I want to borrow (alongside a cafe, a shop, internet access, an art gallery, and I don't know what else yet). It was easy to sign up, and I have already made use of a number of the facilities, and I've only really been inside for about half-an-hour.