My Metallic Flintstones Scrubs Pyjama Tops (from Simplicity 4101 Pattern)

From my New York fabric shopping trip, I got a metallic print with the Flintstones on it. It’s probably been in that store since 1993 when the copyright on the fabric said it was printed. Here’s what I did with it!

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The Better 30 Day Song Challenge for Facebook (A Variation)

There is a Facebook Community (sort of like a wiki on Facebook after enough people are part of it) called the 30 Day Song Challenge, with over a million users who “Like” it! The idea is that you share a song of certain meaning to you each day on your Facebook profile. It’s a great idea, this song a day sharing thing. I’ve created a few myself earlier this year without knowing about this concept, with the 28 great love songs in February and Top 10 Bob Dylan songs leading to his 70th birthday in May 2011. Both were intended to be theme focused, though, unlike this meme that is more about variety.

However, despite being about variety, the 30 themes for the Facebook 30 Day Song Challenge were a bit too similar, repetitive, anti-climatic and dated for my liking, and also not universal enough:

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Sources of Inspiration Facebook Note

facebook notes for thinkersCopy the text between the dotted line as your note in Facebook, MySpace or other places. Put each of your answer on the line just below each prompt.

To make this an English as a Second / Foreign Language exercise, assign the note with some degree of explanation for each answer, whether a sentence, short paragraph or presentation.

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We are all inspired by others to some extent.

List a person or thing in the categories listed who inspires you, who lifts your spirits or who you admire. You may choose a few if it makes it easier for you since it isn’t always easy to choose one. You may also choose someone no longer living. However, challenge yourself to have an answer for each one because more sources of inspiration isn’t a bad thing in life, you know! If you absolutely don’t have an answer, though, you can write NONE. Your answers don’t have to be your best choice, just a choice that is true.

So put your CAPS LOCKS key ON to accentuate your answers and let’s get going!

 
1. Musician / band / singer

 
2. Natural object or event

 
3. Immediate family member

 
4. Animal

 
5. Athlete

 
6. Relative

 
7. Fictional character

 
8. Religious figure

 
9. Coworker / professional / entrepreneur

 
10. Actor / actress

 
11. Teacher of any sort at any level

 
12. Writer / poet

 
13. Someone who deserves more respect

 
14. Scientist / engineer / technology person

 
15. Politician / diplomat / ambassador

 
16. Book

 
17. Activist

 
18. Song

 
19. Someone you don’t like but respect

 
20. Friend

 
Say something on any or all of your choices, individually or as a group:

 

Please tag some friends to encourage them to try this note, along with anybody you mention who can be tagged. You may want to avoid using full names of people you know who are not famous because they may prefer it that way. Please include me in your tags because I want to know your sources of inspiration.

For more introspective Facebook notes like this, please see https://digitalcitizen.ca/facebook-notes/

 
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1. Musician / band / singer
BOB DYLAN

2. Natural object or event
SUNRISE

3. Immediate family member
WHOLE FAMILY

4. Animal
KILLER WHALE

5. Athlete
MICHAEL JORDAN

6. Relative
ENTIRE MOM’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY

7. Fictional character
LT. COMMANDER DATA ON STAR TREK

8. Religious figure
THE DALAI LAMA

9. Coworker / professional / entrepreneur
MY DOCTOR

10. Actor / actress
HUGH JACKMAN

11. Teacher of any sort at any level
DRS. T.S. CAMERON AND M.A. WHITE

12. Writer / poet
EMILY DICKINSON

13. Someone who deserves more respect
DAVE S. IN VANCOUVER

14. Scientist / engineer / technology person
STEPHEN HAWKING

15. Politician / diplomat / ambassador
BARACK OBAMA

16. Book
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

17. Activist
DAVID SUZUKI

18. Song
BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND

19. Someone you don’t like but respect
TOM BRADY

20. Friend
DENISE R.

Say something on any or all of your choices, individually or as a group:
This wasn’t hard for me as I find inspiration easily in life, whether people or things. I could have done this note with 10 names apiece. I could have done this with people I know only rather than some famous people and some I know. I live by the philosophy I can learn something from everyone I meet, hear of, read about, etc. Most of it is positive and that usually equates to inspiration. It’s a wonderful mindset to constantly be in. It’s only too bad that with so many choices, in doing this note quickly, I didn’t come up with some more interesting answers since some sources of inspiration are much more prominent than others.

The Closest Thing to Crazy I’ve Done is NOT to Have Heard of Katie Melua

Katie Melua

Katie Melua

I listen to a lot of music, but a lot of older music. That’s because there’s not a lot of new music played on the radio that excites me. Most actually annoy me so much I can’t stand leaving it on for long. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t great music these days. It’s just a lot harder to come by, it seems. However, I am sometimes shocked by how “out of it” I am not to have heard about certain musicians who have been very successful and who makes, performs and/or sings great music. Well, I had one of those moments tonight with Georgian-born  British singer Ketevan “Katie” Melua and her music.

I routinely listen to the many channels of the Internet radio site Iceberg Radio, varying them based on how I’m feeling. But a lot of the stuff I listen to there are old stuff. I just happened to have decided to put it on the Love Song Radio channel tonight (under Adult Contemporary, then Love Songs) and was cleaning house when Katie’s The Closest Thing to Crazy came on.

Stopped me dead in my tracks, the soft and basic nature of the song, then the voice, then the concept chorus because by the time I got my thoughts together on all that other stuff I was hearing, the song had it the chorus.

This is the closest thing to crazy that I have ever been

Never mind the rest of it for now, though it’s beautiful. I just liked the concept of how she spun that old concept of being crazy in love as coming close to that edge rather than just the old going overboard mindlessly. She is aware of all of what’s going on, but can’t help it, it seems, and I loved that helpless sense of losing control conveyed. And then the rest of the chorus:

This is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been
Feeling twenty-two, acting seventeen,
This is the nearest thing to crazy I have ever known,
I was never crazy on my own…
And now I know that there’s a link between the two,
Being close to craziness and being close to you.
(Full lyrics, video with lyrics)

Basically, in half a song, one chorus, one line, she had me!

Research after I returned to reality show that the song was written by British based songwriter, musician, producer and Deputy Chairman of the British Phonographic Industry (2009), Mike Batt, in 1995. However, his version of it on MySpace (Track 1) just doesn’t have the same impact on me, even if it’s nice. It was Katie’s performance abilities that gave the song its magic to me to put it over good to great. Poor guy, but I can empathize, having heard other people sing my songs better. The one song I have on MySpace, beautifully sung by Lis Soderberg, is the perfect example.

Now, Katie Melua was new to me, but I wasn’t naive enough to think someone like her was not successful. I knew this was an instance where I had just “missed the boat” and “showing my age” (which I rarely do). What I didn’t know was how much I had missed the boat on this one as Katie was the United Kingdom’s biggest-selling female artist and Europe’s highest selling European female artist in 2006!

Wow! Talk about missing the boat! It’s like the sailboat left, gone several times around the world and came back and I hadn’t known!

But you know, I’m not going to entirely take the blame on this one. None of my friends ever said anything about Katie’s music. Many of them are musicians and/or are pretty into the latest music, but not a word of Katie’s music has ever been mentioned. And as for the Halifax (Nova Scotia) radio stations, when they ever played her music I don’t know but I’ve never heard it. For all the modern crap they play, you’d think they’d recognize a modern gem to play more often when they could!

Ah, ’tis the joy of discovery, and what led me to look her up on YouTube to learn more about her. There, I found some fabulous videos of her and her music, some of which have had over 3 million views. Yep, she’s pretty famous, all right, and I’m just a hermit in this case!

So is anybody reading this not heard of Katie Melua? Tell me if so, or just take a stab at telling me how much I need to “get out” more or something! 🙂

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LOVE the lyrics on this one! Katie seems to like correlation and causality lyrics! 🙂

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And another lovely song among many, which I’m having trouble stopping myself from including them all!

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One more. A provocative one.

Serendipitous Discovery of Leah West’s Music

Leah West, from her ReverbNation profile

Leah West

I am not active on MySpace, checking into my MySpace profile just once in a few months, probably. It’s not my main point of contact, but rather a venue to share the one song I have written and recorded thus far… which will change this summer. I usually check in just to see if anything happened I should know about, that’s about it.

Tonight, I saw a Friend Request from one Leah West (MySpace), a musician (and model, actress, painter, photographer, etc.) formerly of New Jersey and now of Kelowna, BC. I had never heard of her but am long past that sort of thing to be surprised by it. I know it’s about social networking, not necessarily people who know each other. On the same principle, if people send a Friend Request of me, I won’t turn them down unless they seem really scary… more in a social sense than physical sense. I just accept, be flattered at face value they sent me a Friend Request, a little more if they typed something like Leah did, and have a listen to their music. I often enjoy it, but that might be that. However, every once in a while, I find something that’s delightful and tonight, it was Leah West’s music!

First thing to notice was her beautiful voice. The music moves and is moving. There is breadth to it, from simple and fun songs to deep and personal songs loaded with intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful lyrics. All of them are tied together by a genuine sense of honesty that it all came from within Leah, that this is the person she is. Someone who has decided to give us the privilege to look into her soul, just the way it is, through the sounds of her music.

There are six great songs on Leah West’s MySpace profile, but her ReverbNation profile has 54 songs. I’m half way through the list now and have not found a bad track yet. So many good songs I’m starting to believe there isn’t a bad one! They are all of the pop / alternative / indie styles she classifies herself as, though, so if you have a quota on that for how much you can listen to at one time, 54 might be a bit much. Mind you, 54 of anything, even the Beatles, can be a bit much for most. Still, I believe there is a lot more to this young lady than p/a/i. With a voice and, more importantly, a spirit like hers, I think she can do and succeed in a lot of other genres. She just has to determine which of them are within her, when the time is right for her. But absolutely, I very much highly recommend you have a listen to her music at the link above.

Both profiles contain a lot of other interesting information about Leah, including artists she’s worked with, appearances and so on, but Leah’s website has even more, including her photos from modeling, acting, her blog and so on! Rocking! She’s also on YouTube as the video above shows, though it only had 280 views at time of this posting. Contrast that to the well over 1 million views her MySpace profile has had since June 24 2008 (i.e. just 10 months from this posting!).

Anyway, social networking is quite a lot like the lottery. A lot of times, there isn’t much to be gained, if not something lost like time. You have to have that mentality to play it and survive. However, every once in a while, you feel like you won something. Discovering Leah West’s music tonight has definitely been worth my while. As for her, I see she’s got close to 12,000 “friends” on MySpace, but she won over one geniune fan tonight in me!

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Btw, did you know the mean number of Friends a user on MySpace has is 55? That’s just if you averaged out the number of friends every user had, though this should probably be 54 since everybody has Tom, the default friend on MySpace. Compare that to Facebook users who have an average of 125.

However, and this is a BIG however, the median number of MySpace friends a user has is just 2! That is, if you ordered each user in a list from most friends at one end and least friends at the other, and you walked halfway down that line, the person there would have 2 MySpace friends! (Source: Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody)

Wow! Talk about saying something about the nature and interactions of its users given people like Leah has almost 12,000!

What social networking if half the users literally have 2 or fewer friends, with 1 by default to start???

This fact is true despite MySpace still being ranked #9 on Alexa.com’s web traffic rankings at time of posting! Lots of traffic but not of the true interactive kind, obviously. At least not anywhere near where it could be. ReverbNation sits at 7,347 at time of posting, if you’re curious.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.3

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