Saturday, 20 April 2013

Alice in Wonderland

I haven't posted anything for a while, I have had plenty of distractions as well as the usual family and work commitments to keep me busy. One of the little side issues I looked at this week was a request from a friend planning a Rally of Hope event when our PM visits the area at the end of the month. She proposed an interesting exercise and while it didn't take a lot of time it did provide food for thought.

I was asked to list various Members of Parliament and then match them with a character from Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, a fun task which resulted in me choosing the Cheshire Cat for our PM, John Key - the character description said the cat spoke in riddles, was always grinning and could disappear at will - our PM is a natural at all three so I hope he appreciates the consideration behind the bestowing of this character upon him.

My daughter watched the Tim Burton film version of  'Alice in Wonderland' many times over recently so I was relatively familiar with the characters. It is one of those movies which captivates her and she watches over and over again until we can all recite the dialogue as well as the actors. She also has a picture book about the movie out from the library and as we returned home from checking the book out I noticed our local theatre group are currently performing 'The White Rabbit'. All these Alice references were beginning to add up and starting to feel a little eerie. Not least because I had recently begun a writing project with the working title 'Down The Rabbit Hole' before all these other Alice themed incidents occurred - my brain is starting feel like I have taken one of the funny pills in the story.

Of course it isn't just the tale of Alice and her adventures which has come to the fore again in recent years - many stories from our childhoods are making a modern comeback although some are so reworked as to be merely based on the originals rather than faithful retellings. Rapunzel, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Jack and the Beanstalk (I am sure there are more but this isn't a research project) in addition to Alice have all been given the Hollywood treatment in the last few years which left me wondering - have the moguls run out of new ideas? Are they playing it safe with a well known story? Trying to entice the parents by evoking memories of simpler times or it is because, as people of a certain age will tell you - classics improve with maturity?

I can't entirely blame this quick Alice detour for my lack of blog entries though as I have also got a larger writing project on the go - working title 'The Happiness Dial' which has stalled until I get some decent uninterrupted quiet time (ie indefinitely!). I have also been distracted by several ideas popping around in my brain all demanding I start work on them - knitting, sewing, baking, reading and spending time with loved ones but I am finding it impossible to settle on one and make some headway. Until I can cross something off my to do list I will feel jittery and unproductive so I am making a concerted effort to charge forward with 'Down the Rabbit Hole' tonight and hopefully that will at least get the whole Wonderland thing out of my head and I can move on - visions of that damn cat are starting to drive me mad!.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Power of Facebook

I am a haphazard Facebook user, more a voyeur really - I like to see what everyone else is up to but rarely post any comments as I can't think of anything going on that would interest my Facebook friends. This has changed recently, I have upped my Facebook visits from one or two a week to a daily check and have gone on a rampage of liking, sharing and even commenting! My online activity has increased by umpteen per cent  (I am good with many things, figures however are not one of them) and I am enjoying my renewed enthusiasm for taking a more active role in adding to the news feed here and there.

Several interesting and important things are happening on a local, regional, national and global level that I feel strongly about and this is pushing my desire to be more involved. Although I am still on the periphery of the action it feels like the right time to express more of my views about the events currently unfolding.

I have noticed changes to the content being shared by my FB friends - less of the kids photos and minor day to day commentary, more political statements and concerns for the future. I like this change and am proud to have friends who aren't afraid to speak up for what they believe is right and show their concern for what is happening in world. Of course most of us have similar values and therefore agree, on the whole, with each other which is no great surprise because as well as being FB friends we are actually real life friends too and friends are usually on the same wavelengths when it comes to the really important stuff. This results in many likes and the sharing of links to pass on information and play our part in the growing worldwide awareness of issues that need addressing to ensure the future is bright for the generations to follow.

I feel heartened by these largely middle class and middle aged (sorry guys, sad but true) rumblings and long may it continue. However while sifting through the many posts on FB today - a fairly typical day of environmental, political and thought provoking posts amongst the TGIF comments and I was pleased to see  plenty of likes  and shared links spreading the word for common sense and righteousness.

My favourite share today was Expanded Consciousness's link to a feel good environmental article shared by a friend (thanks Chris, I have a pet peeve of municipal inedible plantings and am very reassured to know I'm not the only one as that kind of weirdness can get lonely)  and I noticed it had over 7,000 likes! Excellent, I thought and then as I continued down I found a link that initially amused me (briefly) and then made me despair, My Kitchen Rules.

Now, don't misunderstand me here, I am a big fan of MKR, it used to be my guilty televisual pleasure until I couldn't be bothered feeling guilty any more and now I organise the family routine to accommodate yet another obsession and have got 2 thirds of the offspring on board so we can heckle the contestants together, great family fun, but it is just a TV cooking competition. For those of you not familiar with this Aussie reality cooking show there is a pair of female contestants who are very outspoken and are making themselves quite unpopular in some circles. This link is a call to have them be the next team eliminated from the show - all innocent fun as this will have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the show as the audience doesn't get to choose who goes home. Nothing to get riled about you might think but this is the kicker - when I last checked a few minutes ago this link had over 62,000 likes!! How is it that this link which won't have any effect on the outcome of the competition or in fact anything at all receives so much attention when important, interesting links that could change the world get a handful of views, likes and shares??

I puzzled over this and will continue to do so until I can get my head around it but so far I can think of a few reasons why this may have happened so here's a little multiple choice question for you.

Did the 'get rid of Sophia and Ashlee off MKR' campaign get over 62,000 likes (and counting)because people -

A, find it easier to contribute to the FB community by clicking a vaguely amusing 2 line post than reading a whole article?

B, want to be entertained and not be reminded about challenging issues, especially on a Friday?

C,  will click 'like' if they think it will actually achieve something (not that it will in this case) rather than supporting a 'big issue' that feels impossible for ordinary people to influence

D, don't want to feel left out when such a large number of people have liked the link already?

D, everyone just really hates those 2 Asian chicks.

Whatever the reason it really bummed me out but was an amazing illustration of the power of FB, just think what we could achieve if the right people could harness the same power and influence as MKR and use it for the good of the planet?? Some would argue that getting rid of Sophia and Ashlee off MKR is for the good of the planet and they wouldn't be too far wrong - they are incredibly irritating girls but make for great TV.