Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Loire Valley Tomorrow

Dear all

I hope that you have a great couple of weeks. I will be wearing my "Keep Calm and Carry On T-Shirt", and "Keep Calm and Carry On Apron" whilst I cook for 82 people on a campsite in the Loire Valley with Oak Hall, and as I then bike-sit, and drive down to Provence on the wrong side of the road, before coming back to get back on track with my projects.

Looking forward to taking up my 0.4 post as a Lecturer in History at the University of Winchester on my return, along with a number of projects to finish! And I suspect I may have a blog entry or two to do.. I've set a number up on my other blog: ww2poster!


Damaris Culturewatch: My Sister's Keeper (review)

In My Sister’s Keeper, Kate Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva) is diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia when she is two years old, and the prognosis is not positive. Her parents, Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patric), and her brother Jesse (Evan Ellingson) are not genetic matches. Sara, at least, will do anything to save Kate, and Dr Wayne (Jeffrey Markle) suggests, off the record, that producing another child in a test-tube would provide a perfectly matched donor. Anna (Abigail Breslin) is the result. The initial expectation is that only the blood from the umbilical cord will be used, but by the time Anna is 11, she’s undergone a number of medical procedures, including bone marrow transplants, and the latest call is for a kidney.

Read the rest of this article (be aware, it contains plot spoilers), which I wrote.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Bex is totally addicted

"Bex is totally addicted: she can’t resist a sale sign, can’t ignore a new pair of Prada shoes and can convince herself that she ‘needs’ it all. Shopping to Bex is better than falling in love:
‘You know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles, and your heart kinda goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast? Well, that’s what it’s like when I see a store, only its better’.

Bex is a shopaholic. She sees shopping as infinitely satisfying, unlike men: ‘You see, a man will never love you or treat you as well as a store. If a man doesn’t fit you can’t exchange him seven days later for a gorgeous cashmere sweater."

Woah, thought somewas was defaming me, but no, it's Becca Cockram's review of 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'. I think my friend Kate would say that I'm capable of convincing myself that I "need" what I buy, but after having to hoik a load of stuff around whilst travelling, I'd rather have less "stuff" and have more fun!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Brian Draper: Spiritual Intelligence: Book Launch Speech

Feels like a conspiracy here tonight.

"A small crowd gathering in an old bookshop, gathering around an idea, spilling onto the streets, albeit in genteel, Winchester fashion, quietly determined, perhaps, to connect, and to make a difference.

Quietly determined to whisper conspiratorially that there must be more to life than slavishly serving money or massaging ego;

Quietly determined to stop sleep-walking through life, and start waking up to the moments of clarity, to the gifts of epiphany, to the glimpses of magic we are all presented with every day, if we did but realise them.

Quietly resolved, perhaps, to try living as if less really is more.

As if you’ve got to lose yourself to find yourself.

As if you’ve got to die, somehow, in order to truly live."

Read more

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Tango in the Aisles

I've just enjoyed watching this video on Sadler's Wells Global Dance Contest, as a couple of my friends (Karen & Vicky) are in it. I think it's a well thought out piece, and much better to see on video, than the various Facebook stills I'd seen! Clever!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

It's hard to apologize when I know I'm wrong

In many ways it's easy to apologise when I know I'm wrong, because then at least I do know why I'm apologising, but many times, it takes a while to work up to saying I'm sorry!! It depends on how badly I think I'm wrong, and how badly I think I might have hurt someone else's feelings in the process..

Friday, 17 July 2009

"Calm Down and Carry On" campaign for @drbexl

Ha ha, bit of crowd-sourcing continuing (without success yet, but it's got to happen sometime right!), using Paul Windo's idea of #freedrbexl, started by @emptybelly, with @Ulfilas coming up with the most appropriate slogan!

[17th July] It worked, I'm back on Twitter @drbexl!

Dr Bex Lewis, awaiting resurrection... of @drbexl on Twitter!

Still awaiting the un-suspension of my @drbexl account. Still can't work out why it could possibly have been suspended, aside from the fact that I tweeted roughly every minute for certain sections of the conference! Got the conference guys starting a campaign - well, you never know!!

Check out #freedrbexl!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Christianity in the Digital Space; Churches' Media Council; CODEC

DRAGONS! I'll be back with more!

  • My Twitter account @drbexl has been suspended due to "suspicious activity" - would that be the 1-per-5-mins tweets going on from my account? We'll see, currently 6pm, so been down for around 24 hours, I am feeling rather bereft of part of my identity!!
  • Mark Howe gives a great summary of the conference, ready to LOL?
My Twitter account came back up after about 50 hours downtime! Meantime, if I've missed your blog off the list, please feel free to comment it!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Winchester Festival 2009

Yesterday, I took a little wander into town to check out the Contemporary Art, Craft and Design Fair (finishes today 6pm), which runs as a part of the Winchester Festival. I find it difficult to find belts that I like, that fit, and that I'm not allergic to (and that I can afford), and I was happy to find the one above from Beaubags. Some great stuff on display in the tent, but you know, not much of a budget at the moment for such things!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Fail Blog

Great blog to follow, fail blog collects together a number of pictures and videos which demonstrate "#fails" (a common term since social media has taken over!). Checkout failblog.

Trip Advisor: "Cities I've Visited"

Thursday, 9 July 2009

San Sharma @ Scanner Central

Last night I went to my first Scanner Central event. I've been meaning to go for quite some time... although as I said to John Williams when he asked me how I'd heard of them, I can't remember any more, but it was something to do with reading Barbara Sher 's book and then finding that John had been on one of her holidays abroad, and had since set up something in London! It's a bit of a trek from Winchester (about 1.5 hours each way), so I may not be able to go every month, but it's great to meet other people who change interests so often, and John wants to encourage people to work together to get some of those ideas into production, rather than giving up as soon as you're bored with it! I guess I'm more of a longer-term scanner, as I DO have lots of short-term interests, but also have some long term ones, centred around learning, academia, learning, contemporary contemporary Christianity, and wartime posters!

San Sharma gave a really interesting talk (apparently only his second time of public speaking: wouldn't have known if he hadn't said!), most of which was familiar to me, but it's always great to see that I'm on the same wavelength as others, and there's always a couple of things you come across that you go "ah ha" to! Most of the tools are listed from San's presentation (see below), but gave some interesting context for social media also!
  • Any business not in social media is not likely to survive for long in the modern world.
  • Social media allows you to express different parts of yourself, as you talk you find a theme/style that you like and others who like it. So you connect with others with whom you have things in common.
  • Social media - offers accessible publishing tools for everybody, for many to many dialogues.
  • It has changed the fundamental nature of news media, from institutions to the media, the masses decide what's hot (see how quickly the news about Michael Jackson's death got out)
  • It's now about how good you are, not who you know, or who you work for.
  • Twitter is rather like a city, where you overhear random conversations. A lot of the conversation is random, but this is similar to real-life where chit-chat hold human groups together. No one cares what you had for breakfast except you, but you'll tell others anyway (we're talking offline, as much as online!)
  • Social media is just another tool, you can write a novel with a biro, typewriter, computer, blog... all different tools, although changes the writing/reading experience somewhat.
  • Social media offers an opportunity to build meaningful relationships, and follow industry news (whether you're pulling it down or pushing it up)
  • Twitter: Should it change it's question from "What are you doing?" to change the kind of responses that it gets?!
  • Mass media offers a mass experience for events, for example, for the final of the Apprentice, felt a bit like was watching it with the rest of the nation in the front room, following Twitter feeds!
More Information:
  • See San Sharma's presentation here (6MB, PDF) (picture)
  • I have been using Vistaprint, but love the Minicards that Moo uses (San does some work for Moo, and a number of Scanners had the cards)
  • Handy tools: Knowem; DandyID
Other Presentations

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Brian Draper @ CCW: Sunday 5th July (Report)

On Sunday 5th July, Brian Draper had a busy day at Christ Church Winchester, speaking at 3 of the services!

Brian used the passage Matthew 7:13-29 as the basis for the evening, in which he was explaining the 4-step plan that he's developed with regards to Spiritual Intelligence.

  • In life there are no easy short-cuts or "quick-buys", and we need to clarify the life/faith connection. Spiritual Intelligence was designed as a "giveaway book", and one that would likely be purchased at airports.
  • God wants to challange you, and breathe grace/comfort into you.
What is intelligence?
Our understanding of intelligence is no longer just judging people by how clever they are through IQ quizzes, etc., but we now have emotional intelligence, and the idea of spiritual intelligence is also gaining momentum.

What is coaching?
Coaching is all about embracing ourselves as part of a bigger picture. Whether we're dealing with a business or with people, we want to become part of the solution, rather than being part of the problem.

Would you like your life to have significance?
How effectively are you using your innate spiritual intelligence now? What part would you like to play in your local/global world? What will you do with your "one wild and precious life"?

How do you define success?
We need to re-evaluate the nature of success by what we celebrate, as what we define as success tends to identify our priorities. We need to say enough is enough and love those in our communities becasue of our differences. We're all unique and have different things to contribute [how boring would it be otherwise?]. God has set eternity in our hearts and won't let us rest or settle into mediocrity.

The Road of Life
On Finding "the road", we need to live life in all its fullness. Often in Christianity the life now is not seen as important as heaven, but God created us for a purpose and to enjoy our life on earth, so we need to appreciate NOW. The challenge is to become more fully aware, observant and ready, nurture those seeds of awakening into life.

Staying Alive!
When do you come most fully alive? To whom? To what are you giving your life? What is the higher cause you serve? Christianity is a description not a prescription, it's a journey of faith. What is the context of spiritual transformation in your own life? Malcolm Gladwell describes in The Tipping Point that if the context is right for transformation only need a 1degree change at a time for true change. Think about snowflakes, each tiny flake is like nothing, but as they settle, everything changes.

So how are you living?
Are we living hurried, stressed lives, against a constant background of noise? We need to get to a place where we can expect the unexpected, where radical change can be expected. (You can gain an idea of how Brian has been living recently)

The Four Stage Iconic Journey of Spiritual Development
A brief summary of the four icons.

Alarm Clock
Every day offers the chance for (spiritual) awakenings, if only we noticed them! Are you awake to what is unfolding around you?

We need contemplative times, otherwise we rush around building a false ID of ourselves using our ego-driven minds, which drags us back to the past, or forward to the future, never enjoying the moment!

What can give us those small seeds of awakening?
  • Conversations
  • Art
  • Scenery
  • Smells
"Leisure" by William Henry Davies.

Once you awaken to something, you begin to see the world/your place in it changing. How is your life different? What do you look for in life? The scales can fall from your eyes fast or slowly! What do your friends and family see that is different about you?

Your eyes are your windows on life. If you are squinting, you won't let the light in and your life will be dark, if your eyes are wide open, you allow it all in!

U2: "Walk On" (interesting words that Bono chose for 64forsuu).

With some music in the background, we considered this image for a couple of minutes - each of us will something different - and this is how it is in the world, we all picture the world differently. What we see/believe affects how we act.

Paint Palette
How do we respond uniquely/creatively to the world? We need to glimpse our potential as children of God! We need to lead a charge as we're in a battle for life (and it's hard to lead the battle if you think you look stupid on a horse). As Gandhi said [and one of my favourite quotes]: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".

Pass It On
Jamie Oliver offers a contagion of cooking - he's passing it on. Why don't we do the same with our faith, and the benefits that we receive from them?! We're not teaching or telling others how to live, but allow those around you to benefit from the fruits of your own life.

The "fruits of the spirit" - you can't put a price on that kind of benefit! We need to begin to live a life less ordinary, offering a contagion of HOPE, and of the infinite potential in life [so many people are strangled by fear, and never live up to their potential]. We can be more fully human!

For the soul to flourise, we need to shake off the idea that we are passive partakers in this world, we can shape our own lives and those of the whole world.

We have an opportunity for a new culture created by those prepared to risk/try. Fear causes a hold on the old ways, which are ineffective!

Read more in Spiritual Intelligence, see information from the book launch (I'm looking forward to seeing Brian's speech once he gets it on his website.

This report should have come before Winchester Web Scene, but never mind!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Winchester Web Scene

Proof positive I was there tonight (and I know, I have a bit of a backlog of other blog material on this blog). My other blog has gone crazy today after that New York Times article yesterday, and yes, I am behind on my tasks for today (and yes it's nearly tomorrow)! See more about the Winchester Web Scene, formed in November 2008, growing monthly I do believe - not a networking business-card exchange kind of evening, but a chat with people who have shared interests - some coders, some developers, some content writers, some social media types...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Tribute to Michael Jackson (Comedy-Style)

This (by the Scottish Falseto Sock Puppets) deserves a wider audience than 1,212 views! Thanks to Prof. Liz Stuart for bringing it to our attention!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Dr Bex Lewis quoted in the New York Times

Not that I'm excited by this or anything! Read more on my WordPress blog relating to the Keep Calm and Carry On posters etc.!

Digital Fingerprint

Since 1997, I have had "mydesigna" as a catch-all for the websites that I've designed. As I move more and more into social media, I have set up a new Wordpress site, which will become the new, up-to-date site, far more appropriate! I'm faffing around with Blue Host, and hopefully will learn how to upload my own CSS/use my own domain name, then I'm all set to help other people with the same! I've just had a fun day helping Deborah Kerslake of Serenergise gain an understanding of some of the possibilities for social media, I think the one she's most looking forward to using is Twitter! As a result of teaching Debs about fan pages, I have also set up one of my own for Digital Fingerprint!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Scanner? For Sure!

I love this from Barbara Sher: "you wouldn't ask a bird to pull a plough. It's not cos it's an inferior bird, a naughty bird or a lazy bird. It's just cos it does other stuff and there are animals who do that... it's their thing, they know how to pull a plough. And there are people who do the things you don't like to do, and they like to do them, and they'll do them better than you'll ever do them on your best day because they get a kick out of it!"

Barbara Sher
First came across Barbara Sher in 2007, when I was trying to decide what I SHOULD do "for the rest of my life", not sure that's for me, and coming to terms with the fact that I can do many things, and that my passion for doing them means that I'll do them well, but there reaches a point where I'm done! I have noted, however, that my interests circulate around learning/research, teaching/academia (post-compulsory), communication, community creation (online, including new media or offline) and contemporary Christianity!

Scanners Night, 8th July
Looking forward to going to a Scanner's Night in London next Wednesday (organised by John Williams), with San Sharma, a Social Media Consultant.

A real Super Fun Day Out!

Whilst checking out social marketing material for Super Fun Days Out, I came across this YouTube video... this has to be one of the best things I've seen in ages! Guess it's using the Wallace & Gromit stop-motion technique... I hate to think how long it took these guys to set this up, but I am LOVING it!