everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Talk to the Animals

In case you haven’t seen this video, taken at an aquarium in the USA, here’s a Beluga whale trying to get his point across to some kids. I think their mother might be partly responsible for their shrieking – at the very start of the vid, she says “Ooooh, he’s coming for you!”, but I think he’s really just saying “Hey, guys!” and wondering what all the fuss is about.

Also, it’s a bit boring up to 45 seconds, so please stick with it (or fast forward if you’re in a hurry).

Happy Monday!

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Things With Faces

I like things with faces. Animals, people, watches – those kinds of things. Nothing strange about that, I’m sure. But I really like spotting unexpected things with faces – in nature, or on inanimate objects like doors or street signs or pieces of toast.

Many years ago, I found a photography book made up entirely of images of faces in unexpected places and I was excited to know that there was at least one other person who shared my interest. And now, thanks to Facebook, I know that there are at least 63,976 people around the world who also like things with faces. Because there’s a Facebook page called Things with Faces. Their tag line is Admit it, you see a face. And it’s a very good page to look at if you need a giggle.

Time's up. [image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Time’s up.
[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Say cheese. [image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Say cheese.
[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Surprise! [image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Surprise!
[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

ET, in ice cream form.  [image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

ET, in ice cream form.
[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Happiness in a cup. [image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

Happiness in a cup.
[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

And finally, one of my favourites.

[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

[image from Things with Faces Facebook page]

If you’re on Facebook, I strongly suggest that you check out the Things with Faces page. (Oh, and while you’re there, you might want to like the EverydaySparks page too!) If you’re not on Facebook, you can always google ‘things with faces’ to find similar collections of pics. And when you’re out and about, remember to keep alert – THEY ARE ALWAYS WATCHING.

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Like herding cats…

This morning at work was one of those mornings, when you know it would have been better for everyone if you’d just stayed at home in bed. After a particularly annoying email, as I tipped my head back and released a silent scream, I was reminded of a You Tube clip that someone had sent me years ago. The term was used a lot when working in professional services HR, but could apply to pretty much any workplace/looking after kids/organising an event/managing home renovations: “This is sooooo hard, it’s like herding cats”. I’ve always felt it was a powerful image to sum up that point of utter frustration and despair, when people just would not agree or fall in to line. Here’s the video that still makes me laugh every time I see it – I think it was released as one of those magical SuperBowl ads, back in 2009. Enjoy!

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Five thousand words

No, not really, but five pictures instead. Here are some snapshots from my day in Dublin.

Just doing my bit for Dublin tourism / PR – another beautiful sunny day. Well, the morning was, anyway…

A parking spot specifically for a family, outside a supermarket. Well, it’s either a family, or an image from the movie ET.

An ad for a nursery – the baby on the right appears to be thinking WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU SO CLOSE? (And is it just me, or does he look a bit like Mr Bean?)

Latte art by Dublin’s own Ruslan, Irish Latte Art Champion 2012, at the Art of Coffee.

And one of my favourites – my lovely friends found this on the street near some fairly rough apartments here in Dublin (not today, but I couldn’t resist including it in this post). As you can see, it’s a comprehensive list of some kid’s enemies…hopefully he or she isn’t lost without it…

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Knitted Fashionistas (Fashioknitstas)

Diane is from Canada and she sells knitting patterns on etsy. Unfortunately, you can’t buy these dolls ready-made, as Diane notes that she doesn’t have time to knit them for you, but she will sell you the pattern so that you can do it yourself. And if I could, Diane, I would. Because I can think of so many people who would love your work. Ok, mostly me, but there will definitely be some other people who like them. They are kooky, they are bright, they are hilarious. Put them together and you could have a beauty pageant to rival Miss Universe. And I love that Diane has named all of her dolls and provided funny back stories on the site.

This pink doll mightn’t fit the pageant look, but I had to include her. Back in my day, there was a cartoon about a chick in a rock band called Jem. I can’t remember much, but that theme song has stuck with me since the 1980s. Probably because the lyrics were mostly a repetition of: Jem. Truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. I can’t remember if she really was, but since they said it so many times, I guess she must have been? Anyways, the pink haired, pink leg warmered doll reminds me so much of Jem. Although Diane says that she modelled this on an outfit she saw on Dancing with the Stars. Uh huh. I must try and find that episode to see it with my own eyes.

If the beauty pageant isn’t your thing, you might prefer your own knitted family. Or you can recreate (or dream about) your special day with the knitted wedding scene. Or adopt the doll that looks a bit like Marilyn Manson, with different coloured eyes. Diane’s etsy shop is well worth a look and you can find it here.

And the post wouldn’t be complete without a knitted streaker. Here he is.

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Face it

I stumbled across this guy on a Sunday afternoon stroll through the virtual world and thought it was a story worth sharing. Essentially because he has a cool name and a funny face and a crazy idea. An irresistable combination!

Jack Blankenship is a student at the University of Alabama and he recently became something of a late night talk show celebrity in the USA due to his genius idea of bringing a giant cutout of his face (twisted into a pretty kooky expression) to college basketball games to distract the opposing team. Not sure where he puts his Face when his team is scoring (cos that Face will take everyone’s focus off the game) and I haven’t seen stats on the University of Alabama’s success rate, but I really like this idea.

And I see such potential beyond the basketball court… Babysitting troubles? Bring out that giant cutout of Cranky Daddy and that should do the trick! Productivity issues in the office? Hello giant CEO Face hanging from the ceiling panels! Worried about amorous teenagers on a date? Not when Grandma Annie’s frowning face is towering over them from the next row in the cinema! And if you could hook the giant Face up with eye-cams and speakers, teachers wouldn’t have to set foot in the classroom.

Nice work, Blankenship – am sure your funny face has a big future. I’m thinking of a “Just say no” sort of tie-in with giant billboards for an anti-drugs campaign or anti-speeding campaign. Or a new Happy Meal at McDonald’s. Something like that.


See more on Know Your Meme

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Livers & thyroids & brains, oh my!

These bright, colourful and strange looking soft toys caught my eye on Fab.com recently. And when a product line is described as ‘anatomically correct plushies’, you know you’re on to a winner. Whether you want to encourage a med student, commemorate a successful surgery, or just have some organs scattered around your lounge room, these designs from I Heart Guts are worth a look. They appear to feature most of your big-ticket organs, like the pink and blue lungs shown on the left (which appear to be selling out, so if lungs are your thing, better get in fast). And of course, red hearts and purple kidneys and blue brains. Ho hum.

I really like some of the other organs though – the ones that I imagine are slightly less popular at sale time. The good ol’ gall bladder, source of such pain for so many. Or the pretty pink and purple ovary, yellow (of course) bladder, bright green spleen or worm-like orange appendix. There’s even a pancreas and a whole heap of different glands, in case you’re a fan of those unsung heroes of the body. And the I Heart Guts website is educational too, with great descriptions for kids (or adults who aren’t great with science) like this summary of your smiley orange stomach: The stomach creates a highly acidic environment used to digest all the cookies, ice cream and bacon you gobble up. This lil’ guy’s digestive juices help break down food for the intestine, which absorbs the actual nutrients. Don’t forget to chew. Say stomach in Japanese: Ibukuro!

Wendy Bryan, I salute you. You and your cleverly designed plush organs.

Need some guts? Look here.

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Draw Something. Anything.

I think I’m very late getting on the bandwagon, so you’ve probably already seen the Draw Something app. Essentially, it’s online Pictionary with random strangers. Or, Words With Friends in picture format, if you like. And I’m hooked. I can’t really draw – a fact that is becoming more and more apparent with each game that I play – but there’s some satisfaction in your scribble being identified as your intended image. Basically, you choose from one of three options to draw (for your team mate to guess). And then you get awarded coins, depending on the alleged difficulty of what you chose to draw. An everyday plodder drawing equivalent – say, HAT – will get you one coin, while the nimble Russian gymnast drawing equivalent – say, PETSHOP – will get you three coins. (For the record, I have drawn both hat and petshop and they have been identified correctly by the person on the other side. How, I do not know, but that is beside the point.) You can use your virtual coins to buy additional virtual paint colours to brighten up your drawings, or to buy additional virtual bombs to blow up some of the letters that you choose from to name what the other person has drawn. People use bombs to help them decipher my drawings quite frequently – but I like to think that, like Picasso before me, the hidden depth of my work is not immediately obvious to everyone. I am also comforted by the fact that Picasso never had to try and produce a masterpiece using a canvas half the size of a phone screen, with an index finger as a paintbrush. The virtual artist’s life is not an easy one, I tell you.

However, there are some amazing people out there and I am regularly in awe of the quality of their drawings. Others, and I include most of my own drawings in this number, are either intentionally or unintentionally comical and I find myself shaking with laughter as I look at them on my way to work or waiting in line at the supermarket. For an app that is either free or upgraded to a 99c version, Draw Something definitely gives me my money’s worth in entertainment on a daily basis. Judge for yourself…

     (Ok, that last one is mine. CMM4. See what I mean?)

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Too cool for school

These amazing fine art prints from Angela Rossi in LA make me laugh. Out loud. (See kids, we used to say it like that before you lazied it into LOL.) With the animal tops perfectly matched to the old American yearbook bodies, you can just imagine these dudes roaming the halls of the local high school back in the day. Not wishing to stereotype, but I reckon Andrea the Giraffe (all animals named by the artist, I have just interpreted the characteristics) would be the studious library-at-lunchtime geek; Hunter the Hound is either smoking in the bathroom or saying dopey things at the back of the classroom; Ryan the Raccoon is the cool jock (with a beard); Timmy the Alpaca would be all about music/drama/dahnce; Heather the Persian Cat would be the uptight teacher’s pet and Rachelle the Cockatoo would just be annoying (with a cute blonde ponytail).

Check out more cool prints, plates and postcards at Angela’s etsy shop Beat Up Creations.

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What’s in a name?

I am doing some recruitment in my new job, which I’m enjoying because I haven’t hired people in a long time.  It’s always an interesting process – especially when you put the ad on an online job board yourself, rather than using a recruiter.  You craft the ad, then with all the hope of a lovestruck teen you click on ‘publish’ and 30 minutes later, your new job is up in lights, being looked over by prospective suitors.  And within about 1.25 minutes, the applications start arriving – especially if the job is in IT or administration.  The quality of those applications and general tips for candidates is another rant altogether.  (In which I would suggest little things, like: get the job title right, get the company name right, get your own name right.  Stuff like that.)

Anyways, this recent batch of recruitment has got me thinking about names and what is in them.  I have decided that the answer is: a lot.  Although I do accept that I’m a bit odd in this regard.  When I hear the name (or prospective name) of a new baby, I always run three very quick scenarios – not to cover the whole spectrum of options, you understand, but to get an idea of how the name fits.  So, if you tell me that your baby’s name is Pixie McGee, I will automatically do this (usually in my head, sometimes out loud): “Good morning, Pixie McGee’s office”; “Pixie McGee reporting for National Nine News”; and “Hello, I’m your doctor, Pixie McGee”.  I don’t judge (out loud), I don’t try to persuade a name change, I just play it back to see how it sounds in a few different scenarios.  Although if you tell me that you’ve chosen a name that spells something backwards (as Nevaeh), then I may say that is a little bit yzarc.

But back to recruitment.  I am not sure who the prankster is that suggests names for incoming students or employees to adopt so they can ‘fit in’ when they arrive.  When I was younger, there were a lot of old-school English type names chosen: Daisy, Eugene, Harold, Violet.  Now, it seems as though anything goes – I have recently come across real-life students named: Magic, Sexy, Chicken, Thunder, George Washington and Tennis.  Now, I don’t mean to be superficial, but I don’t think those names are going to help you blend in to your new community.  Sure, you’re out of the primary school days of sticks & stones breaking your bones…but really?  I don’t know that we’ll see Sexy as a company CEO.  Or Chicken as a leading investment banker.  Or Magic, the school principal.  Sure, Thunder and Tennis might have more obvious career paths mapped out for them in fields relevant to their names, but if they wanted to become, say, barristers or office managers, I’m not sure how that would pan out.

Then I think, maybe it doesn’t matter to most people – a rose by any other name and all that.  And maybe we should have more names that are fun and bring a smile to people’s faces.

So I’m going to sign off all my recruitment correspondence as Mermaid O’Krypton.  Just because I can.

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