Stuff I see, which you might not.

The First Sydney Color Run – I’m in!

I’d never heard of the Color Run until my friend Anne asked if I’d like to join her team – when I checked it out online, I saw that it looks bizarre, crazy, colourful, fun and very very very different to a normal fun run. So, of course I’m in. They call the Color Run (American spelling – it’s really bugging me not to write ‘colour’, believe me) ‘the happiest 5k on the planet’.

According to the organisers, there are really only two simple rules: (1) you have to start the run in white shirts and (2) you have to finish the run covered in colour. I love their big picture explanation: “Runner/walkers begin the 5k at the start line like a brand new pristine coloring book. By the end, they look like they fell into a Willy Wonka… tie dyed… vat of colored goodness. We are the creators of an all new paint race phenomena!” Of course, they had me at Willy Wonka.

So, how does it work? Apparently, “each kilometer of the event is associated with a designated color: yellow, orange, pink, or blue.  As the runners/walkers reach the Kilometer COLOR RUN Zones, they are blitzed by our volunteers, sponsors, and staff with COLOR.   All products are 100% natural and safe.  You can eat the stuff if you’d like (we have tried it and don’t suggest it, it is surprisingly high in calories and leaves a chalky aftertaste).  Of course, we save the best for last, ending the race with a color extravaganza of epic proportions.

Basically, you run 5km and every km, people jump out and shoot or throw coloured powder all over you. This is the first time the run has come to Australia, after being rolled out across the USA. The first Australian Color Run is in Melbourne in November and we get our turn in Sydney in February. I’ve registered and, by the looks of the peeps in this promo video, better make sure I don’t have any appointments for the rest of the day…Let me know if you’re in Sydney and want to join in the colourful fun!


Faking It at The Met

Love this post on a new exhibition at The Met – as always, What We Like NYC gives a great glimpse into New York life. This collection looks amazing!

what we LIKE NYC

19._Dream_No._1_Grete_SternA new photographic exhibit opened at The Met this week with extraordinary examples of manipulated photographs made well before the age of digital technology. We thought changing photographs of models and actors in magazines to look thinner and younger was a relatively new trend, but this exhibition shows that altering photographs has been around as long as the medium itself.

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before The Age Of Photoshop includes around 200 images taken between the 1840s and 199os.  Subjects include art, politics and entertainment with the exhibition divided by section. “Politics and Persuasion” shows photographs manipulated for political gain, “Novelties and Amusements” brings together professional and amateur photographs taken intended to astonish and our favorite,”Pictures and Print” displays images in newspapers, magazines and advertising where the subjects were altered to portray a certain image.

The final section presents photographs by Yves Klein, John Baldessari, Duane Michals, Jerry Uelsmann, and…

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EverydaySparks CEO, Idea #274

I’ve posted quite a few times about my brilliant ideas that I will implement when I am the CEO. The CEO of what? Dunno. But the organisation will be pretty cool, don’t you worry about that. Today, I wanted to share a possible office design for EverydaySparks Inc, via the awesome Cool Hunter website. Located in Bangkok, the headquarters of telecommunications company dtac has got to be one of the best office spaces in the world. And my professional HR opinion is that any job that you do would have to be more fun if you did it there. Don’t believe me? Check out these pics…

Now THAT’S a breakout area. Who needs a desk, I say.

Oh the bookshelves, the bookshelves!

And there’s a ‘FunFloor’, featuring indoor soccer, table tennis, and concert & performance spaces. Oh, and a running track. Uh huh.

Run away from annoying colleagues.

You can read more about the incredible dtac office on The Cool Hunter site here. And I am accepting applications to join EverydaySparks Inc, if you’re up for an undefined role in an unclear organisation. With rockin’ office space.


Dear Santa…

Well, it’s coming up to that time again. The time when the festive season and goodwill towards all take a backseat to the business of shopping. And that fabulous department store in the USA, Neiman Marcus, has just released its 2012 Christmas catalog. And if any of the ‘2012 Fantasy Gifts’ are on your wishlist, then I think you’d better write your letter to Santa as soon as possible – he’ll need time to re-mortgage his house, sell off all the other toys and lease out the reindeer. The catalog features some great gift ideas for everyone – here are some of my highlights…

Like the JetLev R200’s creator, you’ve dreamed about jetpack flight since first seeing it in the movie Thunderball. Finally, technology has caught up with fantasy! One part sci-fi, three parts British secret service agent, and 100 percent pure adrenaline rush, your water-propelled jetpack is about to send your spirits—and your self—soaring. Excitement builds as you take to the skies and experience the rush of personal flight. It’s a beautiful day for adventure. So, strap yourself in, engage the throttle, and up, up, and away you go!

A jetpack for only $99,500? Crazy, right?!

Leaping lizards! Your stomach is doing cartwheels as you wait in the wings for your cue. A nervous smile spreads across your face as you realize THIS IS IT! You made it to The Great White Way! And soon, you’ll be taking the stage in one of theater’s most beloved plays, ANNIE: The Musical. The stage manager gives you the nod, and you step into the spotlight. Your role as a walk-on performer? To help the adorably good-natured orphan and her canine companion teach the world that perseverance and unwavering hope can change lives. After your curtain call, you’ll sit down with one of the show’s producers for a celebratory five-star meal.

Only $30,000 to appear in a musical with children and animals? Merry Christmas!

Dawn breaks. The hens descend from their bespoke Versailles-inspired Le Petit Trianon house to their playground below for a morning wing stretch. Slipping on your wellies, you start for the coop and are greeted by the pleasant clucking of your specially chosen flock and the site of the poshest hen house ever imagined. Your custom-made multilevel dwelling features a nesting area, a “living room” for nighttime roosting, a broody room, a library filled with chicken and gardening books for visitors of the human kind, and, of course, an elegant chandelier. The environment suits them well as you notice the fresh eggs awaiting morning collection. Nearby, you pick fresh vegetables or herbs from your custom-built raised gardens. You’ve always fancied yourself a farmer—now thanks to Heritage Hen Farm, you’re doing it in the fanciest way possible!

$100,000 so my chickens can live in a Versailles-inspired house with a library and chandelier? Yes please!

You can check out the other must-have gifts in the 2012 Fantasy Catalog here. The ‘normal’ Christmas catalog also features gifts for under $250, if you must.

I’m off to write my list now…

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Shakespearean spammer

Like most blogs, EverydaySparks attracts quite a bit of spam. The garbled messages are generally caught by the very clever spam filter and put aside for me to check. And yes, I realise that I just made it sound as though I think there’s a person who acts as the filter, looking through the incoming messages to check what’s good and what’s not. (And I appreciate it, SpamMan, I really do.) Anyways, mostly the messages are just weird, complimenting me on my posts (yes, that’s the first spam tip off!) and recommending a link to a strange product or website. Or computer virus.

But today, there was a message that sounded way too poetic to trash straight away, so I thought I’d share it with you here (minus the virus spreading link). Brought a tear to my eye, it did…


Unquestionably consider that which you stated.

Your favorite reason appeared to be at the net the simplest factor to remember of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while other folks think about issues that they just do not understand about. 

You managed to hit the nail upon the top and outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , other folks could take a signal.

Will likely be back to get more.

Thank you


Very Cross Stitch

I’ll be honest – I’ve never really understood cross stitch. I know there are people out there who love it and find it therapeutic or wholesome or blah blah blah, but I’ve always thought it was a little bit pointless. Until now. I have found my kind of cross stitch, created by Julie Jackson at Subversive Cross Stitch. I’ll let Julie explain: “Subversive Cross Stitch began in the spring of 2003 as a form of anger management therapy when I was dealing with a cruel bully of a boss. At my wit’s end and in dire need of some art therapy, I stopped by a craft store on the way home from work one day…”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Rather than sticking to the pattern of pretty little pink roses, Julie freestyled and added an expletive (it’s a family blog, so I won’t spell it out here) to better capture how she was feeling. The expletive was of course neatly cross stitched into the centre of the circle of pretty pink roses, which got Julie thinking about the benefits of cross stitch with attitude. And so it began – you can now get kits, tips and supplies from Julie’s website. Perfect for a home made gift with a difference, or perhaps for someone who’s cranky about having a bit of time on their hands. Probably not quite right for Granny’s 85th birthday though.

I can’t show too many examples of Julie’s fantastic work here, but I assure you that the Subversive Cross Stitch website is well worth a visit!

I really do.

The modern ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’.

Perfect for the office.

So wrong that it’s right.

One of my favourite pieces of HR advice.

That’s just a taste of the amazing things you’ll find on the Subversive Cross Stitch website here. So much inspiration, I love it!


I have run into trouble

And so, it has happened. After keeping up my running program while I was on holidays and feeling great about the fact that I was injury-free as I ran further and further, I have hit a snag. And by ‘snag’ I mean ‘inflamed bursar’. At least, I think that’s what the physio called it when I visited on Wednesday. I was confused as I always thought a Bursar was that old guy at school in charge of collecting the fees and managing the books, but seemingly it’s also the name of little sacs of fluid in your body that help the tendons or muscles (or somethings) move smoothly. Until one gets inflamed and makes you walk like a cowboy / old grandma; and hurts when you sit down and stand up; and hurts when you move your leg in bed; and hurts when you get in and out of cars. Yes, it hurts.

No more running for the Pinkies – for now.

But it hurt even more when I went to see the physio. He seemed like such a nice young man on introduction – he asked me lots of questions and got me to do some tricks like standing on one leg while he tried to push me over. Fun stuff like that. My hip was already a bit sore when I arrived – I confessed to him that I’d felt as though it was getting better before the appointment and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to describe the pain to him, which would have wasted his time. So, I cleverly decided to hop up and down on the bad leg a few times – and man alive did that do the trick. It did seem like a good idea at the time, I swear.

These Wexford donkeys were the last to see me running – for now.

Although I obviously knew that the injury site was around my hip, I wasn’t sure what the appropriate clothing would be to allow the physio to do his work. He said that I’d need to change into shorts and, hey presto, he produced a box of shorts from somewhere in the office. A box of other people’s shorts, of all colours and sizes. I told him I’d try a few on as if I was having a fun day at the shops, but as I shuffled through the box, I realised that although there were a range of different sizes, there was only one length. And that was probably best described as ‘pole dancer short’. Now, I’m a pretty conservative lass and I’m not known to flash my lily white pins around town, so it was only the promise of ending the annoying pain that saw me get into a pair of teeny tiny turquoise shorts and try to look both sporty and confident at the same time. All while managing a distinct lean over to the right to avoid inflaming my injury.

Anyways, the physio then proceeded to poke and prod and ultrasound and massage and release fire ants and thunder bolts and daggers. At least, that’s what it felt like, but there probably weren’t any thunder bolts. And then, like all good practitioners, he encouraged me to “just relax”. ARE YOU FOR REAL, MAN? It was like a crazed attack and I had to put my hands under my head so that I wouldn’t punch him in the face. I told him that’s what I was doing and he laughed and said he had never been hit yet. Lots of attempts, apparently, but none had connected. It sounded like a dare to me, but I battled on and tried to pretend it was all fine. Unfortunately, a poker face is not one of my talents, so he kept apologising as my face must have contorted into a series of loony grimaces.

That’s how I felt too, baby.

And just when I thought the torture was over, he returned with a heat pack and an ice pack and placed them both in the neighbourhood of the injury. I’m not sure how those two things don’t just cancel each other out – it seemed a bit like trying to serve baked ice cream for dessert – but he left them on for a while and disappeared. I lay there on the bed, with my head on the pillows, and dozed off into a slumber. NO, I DID NOT. I lay there on the bed that’s really a table, in my borrowed shorts that were probably for a pole dancer, with my head on two pillows that have surely supported the heads of many other victims, with the medical equivalent of baked ice cream on my hip.

And I have to go back this afternoon.


Worth Noting

Anrol Designs are a Melbourne-based outfit that appreciate the quirky. They have licensed the work of the clever folk at Dear Blank Please Blank and come up with some notebooks that made me smile, so I thought I’d share them with you. I’d put these in the funk-tional gift category: surely everybody can use another notebook in their collection. I have quite a large collection of notebooks myself – I still have grand plans of filling them with story ideas, business ideas, website ideas, shopping lists, gift lists, lists of my enemies…those kinds of things. And I’m a sucker for cool stationery. I was also a star procrastinator when studying – I could spend hours sharpening all of my pencils and testing all of my pens, then re-arranging my desk drawers by colour and spring cleaning my wardrobe, before I’d finally settle down to start writing an essay. As if all that re-organisation could somehow help me to write more convincingly about something I still didn’t quite understand. Kinda like Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams. And no, I’ve never seen that movie, but I do hope that analogy makes sense. So it is with the notebook – once you have one that looks great, the amazing ideas will surely flow. Anyways, here are some of my favourites from the collection:

(Ok, this one is a card & not a notebook.)

(Alright, another card.)

(Yes, this one is a canvas. Promise there are some notebooks for sale too.)

You can check out the range of notebooks, canvasses, t-shirts, tea towels and cards at the Anrol Designs etsy shop here and the Dear Blank Please Blank website is also worth checking out – you can even submit your own message to the world. Or to your neighbour, or whoever it is that is bugging you. One of my favourites is: Dear Nickelback, That’s enough. Sincerely, the world. That website is here.


Anything is Pozible…

I was having a look at the Pozible website this morning – it’s another crowdfunding website (like Kickstarter), specifically for creative projects and ideas. There are always some interesting people and plans on there, looking for some cash to turn their dream into reality. Today, I noticed the pitch of a lady called Skye from Sydney – it was entitled: Are you brave enough to eat a BUG?

Apparently, Skye runs the Edible Bug Shop and is looking for funding to help expand her range of buggy treats. Skye has degrees in Entomology and Food Science, making this business the perfect marriage of her two skillsets.  In promoting bug eating, Skye says: “Edible insects are high in protein, low in fat and have various essential vitamins and minerals (depending on the actual bug itself). Crickets (which are one of our best sellers) are high in calcium for example.” Indeed.

Skye’s shop has been selling Creepy Creature Candy since 2009 and Skye assures us that it is a very popular product. Here is a photo of some of the Creepy Creature Candy range. I don’t know about you, but it’s the kind of lollipop I would take straight back to the shop as some sort of health & safety breach, asking for a refund.

Skye has developed a new range of products – Rocky Roach, Bug-O-Nut Rough, Buggy Brownies and Energy Bars. Apparently, some of these products contain invisible insects (you can’t see the bugs but they are ground up inside), and some are obviously have insects inside, so there is something for every level of bug eater”. Yummy.

If you’re brave enough to eat a bug, or you would like to read more about Skye’s business proposition, or you would just like to check out the freaky bug shop, Skye’s Pozible pitch is here. And you have 50 days to get on board with the bugs (and Skye).

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Overcoming the post-holiday slump

And so today it hits me. That inevitable post-holiday slump as things return to normal – bills need to be paid, appointments need to be made, work needs to be done…and the chances to reminisce about my recent holiday will be few and far between. So, I need a bit of a boost today. Normally, Dr Seuss is my go-to guy for motivation and a smile, but today I’m going with Flight of the Conchords and their recent NZ charity single: Feel Inside (and stuff like that).

You have probably already seen it by now, but in case you haven’t (or you need a refresher, like me today), here it is – a longish clip, but the interviews absolutely make the song, so I suggest you grab a cup of tea and sit down and enjoy it with me. A bit of feta really can make things better. Oh, and you can now buy this song on iTunes outside of NZ, so it’s like having a source of smiles on tap – I love it!