Today I have another example of Tummeling in architecture, this time I believe in Barcelona, explicitly with social interaction in mind. So many homes are sold on the view from the outside of the building - your front window - but this building takes the rear window into account as well.
I currently live in a single family home near downtown, but if there were buildings like this, perhaps I wouldn't mind the transit up and down to get to my home so much. Living on the ground floor is a luxury I'd be hard-pressed to give up.
When Disney bought the rights to the "main" Muppet characters, I have to say I was a little worried about what they would do with them. I grew up with these characters, and we are now certainly in the second or third generation of many Muppet players, so there are now many reasons for the original vision and spirit to get distilled.
Still - once a fanboy, always a fanboy - I can't get enough Muppet stuff, old or new.
I recently discovered something that was birthed out of the Disney/Muppets merger, namely The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora. It started as "Hasty Tasty Cooking Tips" which actually included live cooking demonstrations, and a really lame red buzzer timer to prove to the Internet viewers that this cooking was being done fast. Then they rethought the series and turned it into something more like a sketch from the Muppet Show or Muppets Tonight, but where the cooking seems to be already complete. This has pluses and minuses, and the new version is definitely more entertaining, yet a lot less educational. Still and all, it's worth watching, and I'm glad it exists.
The Muppets have been doing lots of stuff with the Internet - their YouTube page is prettey damn awesome, and the trailers for the new film "The Muppets" have been alright, but the original Muppet content - music videos - are really where it's at. It was during the release of this latest batch of trailers and music videos that I learned about The Green Album.
Finding this album was like discovering a pot of gold. The big discovery for me was an amazing song called Our World that I had to look up (don't tell!) to learn that it was from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, which is one of the few Muppet movies that was not available at my home growing up.
This album has some great tracks, some not-so-great. Andrew Bird's "Bein' Green" totally rocks, as do any songs that were sung by Gonzo in various Muppet films - he may be the George Harrison of the Muppets, and by extension, Dave Goelz. Dave doesn't get as much credit as Jim Henson and Frank Oz, but you can't pull of some of these pieces and characters without being a world-class Muppet performer.
If you're anything like me, you're also a huge Ben Folds fan. Interestingly enough, I haven't watched him host any reality shows - mostly because I hate reality shows - also because I didn't have a TV for much of the time he was getting started with that role. It looks like The Sing-Off has been picked up for a third season. Therefore, I might have to check it out.
Where the release of a Muppet album introduces me to one new song, and makes me fall in love again with others, this one does that times three. As a superfan, I own many of these songs already, like all the ones from movie soundtracks and a few (un)official bootlegs or live cuts, but it's nice to have them here - a cool thing is the re-uniting of the Ben Folds Five lineup to record a few tracks that were written, never released. These are songs that were only available as bootlegs or leaked demos in the past - I'm excited to be able to have a decent version of Amelia Bright and Tell Me What I Did, for example. Then when I see a list of credits like this after a song:
Because the Origami (with 8in8 - Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and Damian Kulash)
...it makes my Spidey-Sense tingle. What can I say?
As International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up, I am in the midst of my annual preparations for our 3rd Pirate Party. This year is probably the most organized we've been about the affair. I've learned a few things in the past few years putting on these events, so I thought I would share some tips here for making your party a success.
Pick a good date. This year's Sept 19th falls on a Monday, which works well for holding a party at the office, but not so well for a party with friends. We tend to choose a Friday or Saturday for our festivities.
Dress like a pirate. For the past few years, Target has had a selection of foam swords in their $1 section, in preparation for Halloween. In fact, the idea of holding Talk Like a Pirate Day was a stroke of genius by the creator, because it makes getting a hold of costumes much easier.
Encourage guests to dress up too. The first year we held the party, we put a lot of emphasis on the "talking" like a pirate, not much on dressing. In later years, we've made sure to mention it in invitations.
Music can set the mood.I've done some research into MP3s available through Amazon, and built up a wish list for possible future purchases. If I can only recommend one, it would be the double album Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Song And Chanteys It features recordings of many "classic" pirate songs by modern artists, some well known for making music, like Bono and Sting, as well as obscure guests John C Reilly and Ralph Steadman. With few exceptions, every song here has an old world feel which could really help set the mood for your party. Something I found on my journey that is not very "traditional" pirate or seafaring music, but still beautiful is Alela Diane's The Pirate's Gospel. For a full wish list, check out my Pirate Songs Wish List. (Listmania Lists can't have MP3 Downloads for some reason)
Pirate Games.Pirate Fluxx is a great variant on the Looney Labs classic of ever-changing rules with a few extra goodies thrown in like the Scurvy card. There are also countless Pirate Board Games, such as Avalon Hill's Sword & Skull, which a friend gave me one year. I've also thought of putting together a "pin the eyepatch on the pirate game." All you'd need is a photo of any celebrity (black out a tooth or two and scribble on a beard with a magic marker) and a piece of black construction paper with some Scotch tape.
Visit the Party Store. We got some great stuff at a party supply store as well as our local Hobby Lobby - props like a fishing net, cupcake holders, toothpicks with flags on them, cocktail accessories and much more. We also have a huge sign one our front door warning "Baware of Pirates".
Visit the Flea Market. I found an awesome brass flagon with a glass bottom, and we also found an old cigarette lighter that looks like a pistol.
Drink Pirate Drinks. I found several drink recipes online with neat names like "Bilge Water", "Crow's Nest" and "Foul Weather". There are also many competing recipes for Grog out there.
Eat Limes. We normally go for a few tropical fruits - we make something called a Hawaiian Wedding Cake, which has pineapple and coconut in it, as well as serving sliced pineapple and anything with fresh lime. Maybe next year we'll spring for some Key Lime cupcakes.
Get inventive with the food. Trying to research what pirates ate didn't get us anything interesting, so we decided to make it up. We get these mini-quiche from the wholesale store and stick some of the Jolly Roger toothpicks in them - they almost look like little boats. My philosophy is that if you have access to all the world's oceans, then you could really put anything on the menu, since you're currently "at port" during your party. Eating what they would have had after long weeks at sea is mostly maggoty bread and meat. Wasa is my preferred hard tack, if you must know.
Make your own costume. You will be more satisfied with your costume if you buy a real shirt and a separate hat, and then just wear some black dress pants or jeans instead of getting a cheap Jack Sparrow costume - they fall apart, don't fit well, and don't look good either. There is a costume shop near our house that had some great peasant shirts, and I used a piece of scrap fabric to make myself a bandana and a sash for around my waist. Some of the cheap "boot toppers" will go a long way too. Since we have this party every year, I am slowly building up a costume that is much nicer by purchasing one new piece a year. Last year it was a cool telescope with stainless steel and leather trim from Hobby Lobby. A fake earring and a cheap eye patch can help too for a male costume. For the female costumes, you may need to be more of a tomboy, unless you want to be a slutty pirate or a bar wench.
Mood lighting. Lanterns, candles, and tastefully placed lights can certainly help a costume party of any kind. Seeing everyone in stark light is not as good as something a bit more subdued - let the imagination fill in the details.
Nametags? We are going to try nametags with your chosen Pirate Name this year to see if that helps the theme out. Results TBD.
Provide Dress-up accessories for guests. Make sure you aren't making it too difficult for your guests to participate. We decided the nametags with some pre-selected names and having a few dress-up items like eye patches, temporary tattoos, earrings, etc can help people get involved without investing in a costume of their own.
Have fun. Don't stress out. I recommend setting a budget, and planning to stick to it. You can always do it bigger and better next year!
The most popular (and free) system for web analytics has got a new interface, so I decided to give a quick tour of the home screen and share three widgets I like to use to get an overview of the activity on my websites.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but these are things I am interested in right now:
find out how many people are accessing my site from mobile devices, or not from Mac/Windows/Linux operating systems at least
find out the most popular keywords bringing traffic to my site, and how many of the visitors are new (this month)
find out what are the most popular pages on the site, and how often that is the only page someone visited (bounce rate).
With over half a million contributing developers in 200+ countries, Drupal powers over 2% of the web including such diverse sites as The White House, Economist.com, Examiner.com, Amnesty International, MTVuk, .net magazine and Data.gov.uk.
Drupal (pronounced drew-pull) is a Content Management System and web application development software written in a popular scripting language - PHP. Drupal has over 11,000 modules and over 1,000 themes, along with both a point and click interface to allow tech-savvy people to put together websites with no programming experience; and an API and framework for programmers to develop unique applications. Best of all, it's free, open source software!
Last night, I was a speaker at PechaKucha Night Orlando v3, where I gave a talk titled "Life as a Tummler". I had to give the title before the talk was fully baked. A more appropriate title would have been more like the title of this post.
I've been doing some restructuring of my personal sites and the underlying servers in the past couple of weeks - trying out some new tricks to get similar results with fewer (cheaper) resources, and at the same time learn about some modern web architecture at all levels of the stack.
If you are viewing this page on a phone, you probably already see what I mean, because the site should be alright on your device. I can't control the fact that many of these sites still use flash for video, so don't get down on me for that.
If you're still scratching your head, you might want to check out the orignal Responsive Design article from Ethan Marcotte, or the latest issue of Drupal Watchdog magazine, both of which define this new system for "design once, run everywhere". You might also hear people bandying about "mobile first". For me, this is mostly an experiment, and my personal site is a great place to do just that.
The MIT Media Lab is at it again, this time in collaboration with Best Buy. Everyone has seen AR tricks like making a video pop up on a magazine, but here is one that hopefully improves the experience for a confused consumer and makes a good use of modern technology.
I also like their 2D barcode design - instead of being little square boxes, it looks more organic.
This is from the same group at Media Lab who created the awesome siftables, which I think have been turned into a product based on Scrabble now. According to David Pogue, Hasbro "borrowed" the idea, the two aren't directly related. They do have a product you can get called Sifteo, though. They are currently in pre-order and promise to be shipping in a few weeks, along with an SDK in C# (yuck! but I guess a lot of commercial game developers already use that language).
The idea of Tummeling is something I have come to identify with quite a bit since I heard about it - I think it goes a long way in describing my interactions in communities like Florida Creatives, Drupal, BarCamp, the Orlando Scene, Podcasting/Social Media and Coworking. Any chance to see Heather, Deb or Kevin talk about Tummeling is worth your time.
The second half of the video is really great, where Heather starts talking to the people who write the corporate blogs, and tries to give them a methodology for changing the narrow-sighted CEOs mind about corporate communication.
Heather often tells a story about how she started as a stand-up comic, then realized that the audience could be as funny, if not funnier than she was. If you like what you see, She takes her show on the road, and teaches a workshop about doing talks that are more "tummelish". You can request to have the Unpresenting Workshop come to your area. (hint: I might be campaigning to have it come to Orlando)
I remember the first few days that Buzz was around... there was some activity there, the tech people were all talking about it (plus the obvious privacy backlash). Then it died. It died a quiet lonely death, and nobody smelled the body until a few years later...
When Google+ started.
Will this "project" go the way of Wave, Jaiku, and Dodgeball? Will they open source Hangouts, like they supposedly open sourced Wave?
What about some way for me to advertise that I want to be found in relation to ... X? I guess the web (and Google search) already have that covered? The lists are cool, but a listserv does not exist here, and part of me hopes the Googlers never create a way to spam everyone. That would make this exactly like every other social network, and Google keeps contending that it is not a social network. Therefore, what is it?