Friday, April 13, 2012

friday five

So... This may be cutting things a bit close for my post-a-day challenge, but rules are rules and it's before midnight! (Take THAT. Technicalities rule.)

A while ago I wanted to simply start posting a list of my favorite links each week on this blog. (Hi, my name is Caroline, and I am very easily distracted by the internet.) I never actually got around to it though (story of my blog life), so what better time than now to start?

I stumble across things on the web all day long that inspire me and make me think. My friends may not "get" why I love social media so much, but I think of my Twitter feed as this ever-present, never-failing stream of consciousness from people I've hand-selected as smarter, funnier, and generally more talented than myself. What's not to understand? At any given moment I can scour the interwebs and find things that make me think, make me laugh or inspire me to be better.

And I want to share that with you all.

Every few weeks on Friday I'll do my best to share my top five links of the week - the top five things that I came across that made an impact on me in a substantial way. And then you all can enjoy them and comment on my post with how I've gloriously opened your eyes to new and wonderful things. (Okay, that's not entirely likely so how about instead you just humor me by commenting with a link or two that struck a chord with you? That would be just lovely.)

It was actually incredibly hard to narrow it down to five this week, but I figure nobody has a ton of time these days so I'm keeping it nice and simple. Plus I don't think a ton of people are sitting at home on a Friday night waiting to check out my blog... (But seriously if you are, God. bless. you.)

So without further ado, my week in review:

1. Caine's Arcade

You may have seen this floating around on Facebook and/or Twitter, but it is definitely worth mentioning here. This 9-year-old has more get-up-and-go than most people I know. His story is not only one of persistence, ingenuity and heart, but it's also a story of the generosity of people and the power we have to make dreams come true if we just care a little. (Sidenote: the part in the middle when he actually ducks into one of the games and pushes out the tickets is ridiculously awesome. Also, that FUN PASS? What. a. deal.) Oh, he's also raised almost $150,000 for his scholarship fund. This is the kind of creativity and entrepreneurialism that we need to foster in kids, and you can bet that when I have kids someday, I will be the very first person to line up at his or her arcade.

2. Make it Count

I love this video for two reasons. First, I love the premise of the story as well as the message it communicates. Two friends were supposed to make a movie about "making it count," so they took Nike's production budget, traveled around the world for 10 days and filmed their adventure just the two of them. Who knows whether they did this without telling Nike, but I don't care. It perfectly captures the sentiment that life is too short and sometimes you just have to pursue the adventure. It's a great piece about passion, and its whimsical-yet-polished execution is spot on. Secondly, the fact that it's actually a piece of marketing by Nike makes me love it all the more. If we had more brands spending time making inspiring content like this and less time shoving pre-packaged, disingenuous ad speak down our throats (yeah, I believe this what they call the pot calling the kettle black, but it's true), companies out there could actually make a difference with the messages they can convey and the movements they can create. (I also think it's funny how "Make It Count" is basically an evolution of the same phrase Nike has been synonymous with for ages, "Just Do It." Ah the mark of a great slogan: standing the test of time.)

3. If I should have a daughter...

Okay, fun fact about me. Since I was little I've had this dream of being a spoken word poet. I don't know what it is about the combination of taking beautiful words and phrases and creating a rhythmic, almost musical presentation for them, but it has always come across to me as so incredibly powerful and awe-inspiring. Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet, gives this TEDtalk and shares some of her poetry, while demonstrating an amazing display of what I call great storytelling. The way she speaks and strings phrases together makes me want to write for days and days until something comes out that sounds half as good as what comes out of her. (By the way, if I start showing up to poetry slams at night, you'll be the first to know.)

4. Ze Frank's An Invocation For Beginnings

(Fair warning: some strong language. Mom, if you're reading, just feel free to bleep those pesky words out in your head.)

I must have been living under a rock, but I had no idea who Ze Frank was until a short time ago when he started making waves on Kickstarter with his plans to start his new (old) show. In his first video installment, he mixes humor with a real-kick-in-the-pants attitude that you can't help but be inspired by. There is something so fantastic about his quirkiness (and his vulnerability.) I just can't take my eyes off of him. I asked Jason about Ze Frank (because let's face it, he was actually designing things on the internet when I was still posting song lyrics as away messages on AIM), and from what he said, apparently Ze Frank is regarded as one of the original "experimenters" on the web. Way back in the Wild Wild West days of the internet, he was doing things that nobody else was doing just to see what would happen. He has really embraced the idea that the internet connects us and together we can collaborate and create some really fun and ridiculous things. Maybe that's what I really respect about the guy - he's an experimenter - but either way his words struck me as particularly motivating. If you want your next week to be better than the one that you just wrapped up, play this video on Monday morning.

"This is an invocation for anyone that hasn't begun, who's stuck in a terrible place between zero and one." I mean, c'mon. Don't you just love that?


Last, but certainly not least, this video is a promo for the book Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer (I just ordered it on Amazon so I'll let you know how it goes.) I just love both the message of this video and the aesthetic of it itself. Some of the simple images and the way they're laced together are so beautiful. Creativity has always been fascinating to me and how it comes upon us is equally fascinating. This book explores the different ways that people come upon creativity and certain simple things that can either enhance it or quell it. (If you have some time, you may also want to check out Elizabeth Gilbert's TEDtalk on creativity. She's one of my favorite authors and I absolutely adore her perspective on how to view creativity and inspiration. One of my favorite TEDtalks of all time.)

I would also like to give a whopping honorable mention to my new favorite Tumblr, (Again, strong language here. What's that you say? You're detecting a pattern?) But seriously I LOL'd when I first read this, meaning it deserves to be shared with the world. Also probably even funnier if you own a dog, but I believe it can be appreciated by non-pet-owners as well. While it may not leave you smarter or more inspired, it certainly will give you a chuckle.

And that's it! Hope some of these were things you hadn't seen before, and I hope some of you find them inspiring or interesting as well. If you like the link-sharing thing, let me know and I'll try to do another recap like this one next Friday. Also please share any great links that struck you this week in the comments - learning new things is a bit of an addiction for me. I hope everyone enjoys their Saturday and I'll be back tomorrow with another post! (Woohoo! Look who's three for three!)

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