Sex & The City

Oh. My. God.

One of the most exciting things that could happen to me all year, happened today.  It’s got a little bit to do with sex, a little to do with a potential marriage, it involves the city and me.

Give up?

I am going to be one of the first people in Australia (actually, make that the WORLD) to see the Sex & The City movie!!  I wouldn’t normally revel (read: rub noses) in this kind of privilege with readers of my blog, my aim is certainly not to give you reasons to hate me, but rather to say this:

Next Friday, 16th May, watch out for my review of one of the most anticipated movies of 2008…!  Get Carried Away!

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#085 | Read The Four Hour Work Week

Today I finished reading this book, and to be frank, it will change the way I look at work and my career forever.

I’ve been socialised since birth to consider my career as one of the best ways in which to achieve personal, professional and societal success. Careers are assumed to be made up of a sequence of jobs/roles in which I better my skills, knowledge, experience and achievements, and predominantly within the confines of a 9-5 structure.

I never attended university. By the time I finished secondary school with a ‘tertiary entrance rank’ that placed me in the top 5% of the state, I was gagging to get into the Real World. I wanted hands on learning, experience, direction. I wanted to make mistakes and learn from them. I was sick of text books. I was sick of teachers, most of whom I believed had lost touch with the Real World. I was sick of learning things that I never thought I would use again – like calculus. I was never ever going to be in a profession that required me to understand this. And it wasn’t because I didn’t understand this that I was sick of it – to the contrary, mathematics was actually my favourite subject because I found it so simple. Take Formula – Apply Formula – Get Result. You can’t get much easier than that in my view. I appealed a great deal to the black and white in me.

To be honest, I have kind of ‘fallen into’ the career and industry in which I currently find myself. I started out in PR and took an instant dislike to the two-faced, superficial, shallow nature of the work in this industry. I wanted to pursue my passion – music – and as luck would have it, I landed two music roles at the same time; one in PR and one in media for the world’s largest music magazine.

My media career has certainly had it’s twists and its turns. I’ve worked in almost every major medium there is, I’ve worked 80 hour weeks, I’ve worked 3 day weeks (that actually ended up being more like 7 days in reality), I’ve pitched, negotiated, strategised, conformed, toed the line… and although I now have a decent pay cheque and I work with a great bunch of people, I can’t help but think there is more to life.

Enter The Four Hour Work Week. Although I read this with a great deal of healthy cynicism, I can’t help but agree with some of the principles put forward by Tim Ferris. The process (or formula!) he walks the reader through is simple : Definition, Elimination, Automation, Liberation.

The first step is Defining what your ideal life would look like if you had no limitations. Tim calls this Lifestyle Design. He encourages you to think as big or as small as you need to be inspired to think differently about the 9-5 drudgery by which we’re all shackled. It’s a ‘starting with the end in mind’ strategy which is smart, and inspiring.

The second step is Elimination, that is to say eliminating anything non-critical to success. It’s the old 80/20 rule… with a machete attachment. The biggest things Tim focuses on in the book is email, phone calls and other ‘interruptions’. This is by far the biggest take away for me from this book. Having a blackberry is a curse. I hate that flashing red light! I have changed so many blackberry settings since reading this book so that I am not ‘alerted’ to new email immediately. I have also now made one of my goals on my 101 List to only check email twice a day for one month in a bid to get into a better habit of controlling my email, rather than letting it control me.

The third step is Automation and the first part of this process is ‘outsourcing life‘, which is something I’m going to trial.  It’s probably the part I am most skeptical about, as it doesn’t appeal to the perfectionist in me, but part of my personal growth plan is to learn that ‘good enough’ is good enough and not everything needs to be ‘perfect’.  So this could be a great exercise to get me well on to this path.  The first step is almost complete in one of my tasks on my list – hire a cleaner!

The second part to the Automation process is to select a ‘muse’, Tim deliberately does not call this a ‘business’ as it’s a special kind of ‘business’ we’re looking for here.  It’s more than I can go into here, but in theory it makes a lot of sense, and he gives good advice for ‘testing’ before launching and spending too much time, energy or cash on your ‘muse’.

The final step is Liberation which is of course removing yourself from the equation such that you can get on with the life you designed in the first step.

Liberation seems so far away for me at the moment, but the book has inspired me enough to make some immediate changes and consider opening up myself enough to dream and create a design for my life.  How far I will get with it?  Well that will remain to be seen, but it can’t hurt, right?

LAMP

Today was no ordinary work day for me. For a start, it was interesting. It was also inspiring. My work often has tinges of these two things, but that is tempered with the other 90% which is reality, budgets, constrained strategy and bureaucracy. But today, I got in my car at about 9am and drove 90 minutes north west of Melbourne to Marylands Country House in Upper Yarra Valley.

For the past week or so, teams of incredibly creative people have been working on projects in the name of the LAMP VIII Victoria residential workshop. The ideas that the teams brought to the workshop were brainstormed, workshopped, poked, prodded and moulded with the help of a bunch of other creative people in the form of other participants, mentors, AFTRS big wigs and finally today a group of industry professionals were invited as “VIPs” to attend the final pitch from each group and give feedback, development ideas and next steps.  The teams and projects were selected from submissions which could have, and did, fall into these types of categories:

* Advanced TV – Projects that are targeted to local ‘OpenTV-like’ interactive TV over satellite and cable TV (Foxtel and Sky New Zealand) with a mobile phone component. These can include synchronous enhanced TV alongside the programming, simple casual games or multi stream formats
* Social Virtual Worlds – Rich story based virtual worlds that can be built in existing large 3D social multi user environments like Second Life, Multiverse or There.com. These must have a strong community aspect and include co-creative elements.
* 360 Entertainment – Cross-media, collaborative play services. Often called Extended Entertainment or Alternate Reality Games these will be strong narratives played out across many websites, mobile, physical locations, TV and print. Themes are usually investigative and draw audiences into complex scavenger hunts that blur the line between fact or fiction.
* Serious Games – Specifically interested in rich gameplay on consoles, pc or mobile that delivers real learning. The range can be short form flash/sms type games that require brief periods of play spread over many weeks or continuous online games that involve collaboration with others in Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) environments.
* Sharing Web 2.0 – Applications and services that draw together communities on web and mobile with the purpose of sharing and growing around a niche interest. This could be mash-ups of iconic web 2.0 services such as flickr, YouTube, Facebook or something completely new and original that will activate key interest groups.

I went along today as one of the said “VIPs” (which is in quotation marks as I really don’t feel like I warrant the V or the I), and it was such an incredible day. The ideas that came out of the group were really astonishing. Some were built from preexisting content that was to be extended to a digital sphere, others were completely indigenous ideas born out of personal experience and analysis of a gap in the market.

I met some incredibly inspiring people, a couple of whom have blogs that I read on a regular occasion, so it was fantastic to meet them in the flesh. I would love to immerse myself in that level of generous creativity for a week – what bliss.

Tips On Finding A Man…

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Tom Cruise & Jerry O’Connell

If you haven’t already seen the leaked Scientology video of Tom Cruise acting like a complete lunatic, then you’ve been living under a very large rock. There are oodles of spoofs and cutdowns of this now all over youtube, but my favourite so far has to be Jerry O’Connell himself spoofing Tom Cruise… but for a good cause, to help the WGA in their strike.

Go on, tell me your favourite quote from this little masterpiece!

Underbelly

Anyone who lives in Melbourne will nod when you say the words Melbourne Gangland War, but some other parts of Australia and indeed some other parts of the world are probably not as well versed in how it all began or where it’s at now, ten years later.

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Underbelly is a new program airing on Channel Nine in February 2008 and it is the story of the Melbourne Gangland War. It is, quite simply, brilliant television. Vince Colosimo gives the performance of his career, it is certainly a shame he plays one of the first characters to die!

I have been lucky enough to hear John Silvester (who assisted in the production of Underbelly) speak about his experiences with these infamous men (and women) and he is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the pleasure of lending my ears to for an hour.

One of the first reviews was released today, and it agrees with me:

Colosimo is magnificent as Gangitano. His presence dominates scenes with Mafioso malevolence. Both family man and thug, he is depicted as a man driven by power and pride. He is violent, vulgar with a hint of Catholic guilt.

The streetwise dialogue by writer Tony Tilse is taut, profane and arrogant. His direction, balancing individual perspectives in a large, Greek (or rather, Italian) tragedy is expert. Images of Gangitano walking across the bonnet of a police car illustrate so much with so little. This is our own Sopranos.

If there are any criticisms to be found with Underbelly, they are few.

This aside, Underbelly looks set to be one of the highlights of the 2008 television year.

Don’t miss it.

Maxine does Sharon

I don’t think this needs any further explanation!