Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once Upon a Time: When Fairytales and the real world collide, anything is possible

Welcome to Storybrooke, where the evil queen has frozen time and stashed all the residents of the enchanted forest. The problem? They don't know they are fairytale characters- including Emma Swan, the lead character. When Emma's 10 year old son- who she gave up years ago- finds her, it shifts her world view. This is the premise of Once Upon a Time, one of the new shows ABC has lined up for next fall.

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost, Tron: Legacy) invite you to a bold new vision of the world where fairytales and the modern day are about to collide.

Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) knows how to take care of herself. She's a 28-year old bail bonds collector who's been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. Henry (Jared Gilmore) is 10 years old now and in desperate need of Anna's help. Henry believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world... and is Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White's (Ginnifer Goodwin) missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's (Lana Parilla) curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time. Of course Emma doesn't believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It's a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close... where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don't remember who they once were--including the Evil Queen who is now Henry's foster mother. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.

This is one of those times when I wish networks did not do promos so far in advance- this preview has me hooked and I want to see the whole show. Because, as Snow White says, "Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing". I choose to believe that this could be a happy ending for all the TV viewers.

The show is now active on Facebook and Twitter, so plug them into your social graph.

Robert Carlyle - Rumplestiltskin
Josh Dallas - Prince Charming/John Doe
James Dornan - Sheriff Graham
Jared Gilmore - Henry
Ginnifer Goodwin - Snow White/Sister Mary Margret Blanchard
Jennifer Morrison - Emma Swan
Lana Parilla - Evil Queen/Regina
Raphael Sbarge - Archie/Jiminy Cricket

Production Company - ABC Studios
Executive Producer - Edward Kitsis
Executive Producer - Adam Horowitz
Executive Producer - Steve Pearlman
Executive Producer/Director - Mark Mylod

Charlie's Angels, Blast from the Past

I must confess, as a preteen/young teen girl, I loved Charlie's Angels. When someone told me I looked like Sabrina, Kate Jackson's character, I was over the moon. Three brilliant, self sufficient women being tough and solving problems on their own? I was hooked. The fact that they were gorgeous? A huge bonus. Right or wrong, every teen girl has a drive to be attractive ( oh, fess up, we all still want to be hot - it is just that our definitions of HAWT shift over time). The other problem solving females I had as a role model back then were Daphne and Thelma of Scooby Doo Fame. The lesson there? If you are smart, you are dumpy. Here was a show shattering that reality for me- you could turn heads and still be the heroine!

This Fall ABC will be bringing back Charlie's Angels. I had a bit of trepidaption about this, not all of the 70's/80's show refreshes have been even close to great. And then there is the fact that I have grown up... my view has changed too. Would I still love the Angels? This big, loud, fun take on the 1970's smash hit series introduces us to three new angels, all fearless operatives, head-turning beauties and close friends. There's Abby (Rachael Taylor) a Park Avenue Princess who became a world-class thief. Then there's Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace, losing both her career and her fiance. Finally there's Gloria, a disgraced army lieutenant who has a way with explosives. When one of the angels' missions ends in Gloria's tragic death, Charlie persuades them to partner with Gloria's childhood friend, Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past. They may not know each other yet, but one thing's for sure--Abby, Kate and Eve will always have each other's backs.
Leonard Goldberg (the original Charlie's Angels) and Drew Barrymore (the Charlie's Angels movies) join forces with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) to deliver the adrenaline rush of the season. Set in scorching-hot Miami, Charlie's Angels delivers nonstop big screen action. With the help of Bosley 2.0 (Ramon Rodriguez), their hot, young technical expert, and the guidance of their enigmatic boss Charlie (Robert Wagner), these angels are an unstoppable crime fighting force.

If the series holds true to this preview look, I am in. It will be one of my "secret pleasure" shows - like Castle. Will it be intellectually stimulating? Probably not. But it looks to be a fun, wild ride and I will stay behind the show that taught me that you could solve the problems of the world, kick ass and still look good.

As ABC says: "Everyone deserves a second chance. Even a thief, a street racer and a cop who got in a little too deep. After all, the three women who solve cases for their elusive boss Charlie Townsend are no saints - they're angels... Charlie's Angels". I will be giving the show a second chance as well.

They are out on Facebook and Twitter, so plug them into your social graph to keep up on the latest news and info.

Annie Ilonzeh - Kate Prince
Minka Kelly - Eve
Rachel Taylor - Abby Sampson
Ramon Rodriguez - Bosley
Robert Wagner - Voice of Charlie

Production Company - Sony Pictures Television
Executive Producer - Miles Millar
Executive Producer - Alfred Gough
Executive Producer - Nancy Juvonen
Executive Producer - Leonard Goldberg
Executive Producer - Drew Barrymore
Director - Marcos Siega

The Daily Dose: Episode 46

The Daily Dose for Tuesday, May 17 is all about Data and Data visualization innovations.

McKinsey releases a report on Big Data, Planetary give us a new data innterface,WPP and nPario partner for better analysis of all that data you are generating, PSN recovers from data leaks, and more.

@Gever Tulley brings us Brightworks. A return to the roots of learning.

I had the privilege of sharing lunch with Gever Tulley , the master of fooling around at TedXBloomington.
Many people know Gever for his now famous TED talk about Tinkering School, or for his book " 50 Dangerous things you should let your children do". ( associate link). He also did a TED talk around this theme, listing 5 Dangerous things.

He is in the process of starting a new school which will open this fall: Brightworks. His talk at TedXBloomington explained more about the philosophy of the new school.

While listening to his talk, my first reaction was " I want to teach there". but moving to San Francisco is not a reality for us, so that quickly shifted to "I want to open the Midwest Branch of Brightworks here". Part of the reason for this gut reaction is that his theories resonate strongly with much of my education, so I know it works. I was not schooled in some odd charter school, but rather in the public schools of Maryland, back in in the 1970s (shhh) in the Cambrian Era of Education. I grew up in Open Spaced schools, with "unclassrooms". Then even with the move to High School, we were allowed to test out of the planned curriculum and then design our own research and investigation projects for a month or so at a time. This was in Science, Social Studies/History and English. We did not have the number of outside expert resources coming into our schools, but I grew up between Baltimore and Philadelphia, in an area rich with external resources. When my partner and I wanted to do more research on the Origins of Man for one project, the school system tracked down every Bus already going Down to Washington DC for a field trip, rerouted them to come by and pick us up in the morning, drop us off at the Museum of Natural History and then picked us up to go home at the end of the day. We did this every day for a week, then came back to the school and integrated what we learned with other resources to produce our project. This was not an isolated example, our teachers and the system wanted us to explore and learn and supported it every way they could.
The biggest reason I believe that Brightworks will be a massive success is the student to teacher ratio. At Brightworks the student to teacher ratio will only be 6:1. Our student :teacher ratio was slightly higher than that, but much of the education I got was small group or individual so the interactions with teachers were personal. Starting my Sophmore year, we were designated the first graduating class of a brand new high school. We were the upper classmen, so teachers had far fewer students to track and manage. Regardless of teaching technique, lowering the student:teacher ratio is good for learning. It returns us to our roots of Apprenticeship programs where only small numbers of students learned from Masters. It gives teachers the luxury of time to get to really know and understand how each student learns best and to tailor the experience for them, rather than attempting to mass produce learners from a School Factory.

I believe that what Brightworks is doing is the way that most teachers naturally want to teach, given time and freedom, and more importantly matches how all of us naturally learn. Think hard about how you learn new things, now that you are out of school- I doubt it matches the current modern classroom experience.

They are taking some care to try to balance gender, etc. in the school- so if you are in the San Francisco area and have a girl between the ages of 6-9 check them out they still have about a half a dozen openings. With a policy to have half their students on scholarship, this will not be an experience that is limited to the privileged few.

I am very excited about this experiment and hope the students end up sharing their expositions digitally as well, so we can follow along on their exciting journey of learning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big Mystery and the origins of everything- a mystery no more.

I am a storytelling fan. I could listen to live story tellers for days on end.
When my kids were little, we told bedtime stories.... but they were nothing like the genius of Arbutus Cunningham.  I am a newly converted fan  and have been so excited to find her work all over the web. She has stories on MySpace, Grooveshark, and there is an awesome 20 Questions interview with her over on BloomMag.  I am saddened that we do not get the radio station she appears on weekly, but am hoping maybe we can convince them ( or her) to make it into a podcast.  Enjoy.  

All the World's a Stage: Improv and Autism Spectrum Disorder

This past weekend at TedXBloomington, Steve Volan gave intimate glimpses into his perceptions of the world that were moving, inspiring and resulted in a standing ovation. I have long been a supporter and participant in Children's Theatre, but never imagined that learning improv techniques would be a key to learning social interaction skills for Autism.
In talking about how interacting with others feels to him, Steve says:

"stage fright is a natural feeling- now imagine that feeling every time you cross someone's path...."
"every social interaction for me is like being on a stage..."
"people on the autism spectrum has this rolling continuous case of stage fright..."

Once stated that well, it seems obvious that all the skills we use to help kids overcome stage fright and learn stage skills would be helpful to kids with autism. Although there is no known research to show this helps, there are several programs and dramatherapy is a recognized threatment. There is even a summer theatre camp specifically for Asperger's kids, and a conference coming up in May in Chicago.

Tricks of the trade that work for actors playing a role work for those at the Autism end of the spectrum.... reminding us all that we all play roles in life.

Make sure you grab a tissue and click through on the link to view the video of his talk.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This week on The Daily Dose

IndyGeek was dealing with a family death this week, so some of the shows got understandably posted oddly.
I thought it might be a good idea to round them up and help you find them, since they probably came through oddly.

Monday  May 9  Episode 40: Growing our Geeks and the Follow bit of interview on the Blogging area for TedXBloomington.

Tuesday, May 10.Episode 41: Indiana Innovators, included an interview with Jeff Martin of True Dungeon.

Wednesday, May 11 Episode 42: Homegrown Success Stories. Included an interview with Mira Award winner Kyle Lacy of Mindframe.

Thursday, May12 Episode 43: 3Rs day. The Google I/O fest.

Friday, May 13 Episode 44: TGIF: With a small bit of follow on about Livestreaming TedXBloomington.

Heading to TED

Looks like blogger is back up and maybe stable just in time for TEDxBloomington.
We are.currently on the road dealing with Westfield construction traffic, but our brains are already in Wisdom of Play mode, as the CNC was running this am.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Daily Dose for Friday May 6

If you have not already subscribed in iTunes, be sure to hop over to IndyGeek and listen/download the  May 6 episode of The Daily Dose.  I had a great conversation with Luci McKean of TedXBloomington and part of it is included in this show. The rest of the show is filled with Robots, Space and Ancient Instruments.

Check your Ego and Execute- Ryan Cox

Earlier this week, Ryan Cox was featured on The Daily Dose as an Indiana Innovator. I talked to him about the process of innovation and idea generation for StartUp companies.   There were more gems in the interview that we could not use on The Daily Dose, and the following on the importance of Execution and Ego Checking is a segment that deserves to be shared- enjoy!

Onion Planting

It is too rainy out today to be gardening, but during the break last weekend, I finally got my onions planted.  This year we added Vidalias to the experiment in addition to White and Red onions.  The Vidalias come as sprouted plants, so there is instant satisfaction in planting rows of them.

We also raised the beds a bit this year, as lsat year saw us battling a bit of rot. With all the rain, I figured a higher bed could not hurt. I spaced the beds very wide, so we can grow some quick crops like radishes and lettuce in between.

 The White and Red onions come as small bulbs, and they get planted about 2 inches down in the middle of the beds. While I hand spade planted each of the baby Vidalia plants ( which are spaced about twice as far apart as the bulbs), it is easier to hoe out a small trench, lay in the onions at 2-3 inches apart and then cover them up. 
At the end of the day, I ended up with 10 beautiful rows  of onions. Now to watch them grown...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave....

In the complicated web of social media sites and networks, you have to navigate carefully.

Lacking a great centralized identication/contact/group/interest management system that interfaces will all of my social networks ( anyone? please??), I did a lot of my separation via  the networks themselves.

  • LinkedIn? Strictly professional. 
  • Facebook? Strictly family and real life friends ( who else wants to see silly updates about my kids and the gardens)
  • Twitter? some odd place inbetween-- mostly for my geeky friends/virtual friends and contacts and people with whom I am mostly just unreserved me. 
  • LastFM? Pandora? ( and some older, now defunct ones...)  the musical me. 
  • Foursquare?GoWalla? The public, tourist me
  • GetGlue? Media Maven me 
  • This Blog? Geeky, parenting, gardening me
  • Diaspora? undefined, testing...
  • ( oh and I just added pinterest.. and there are  tumblr,posterous and startupli.st as well....

My user name on Twitter, LastfM, Pandora, 4Square, GetGlue, etc.. is purposefully the same. It is easy to cross reference and find me. If you are interested  in all the same things that I am, you might follow or track me on multiple networks. But if you could care less about media recommendations, etc..  you probably don't hang out on GetGlue and I try not to clutter my other streams with that ( except for FreeMusic Finds Tuesdays, which I share out on Twitter and sometimes FB). 

I do NOT cross post things between Twitter and Facebook. I am a family oddity, most of the people connected to me on FB are fairly non-geeky, so my Twitter posts would bore or confuse them.  I rarely link this blog on FB, it always goes to Twitter. My EDS blog goes to FB and rarely to Twitter. 

It was a very clean system( if somewhat complicated). Then life happened.  I connected with a whole bunch of EDS folks on Twitter, who wants links to that blog there.  The more active I become in the (local) Indy entrepreneur circles, the more real life people request Facebook Connections and now I have a bunch of geeky folks connected to me on Facebook as well.  Acting as Social Media Director for the Ft Wayne Regional Maker Faire is also connecting me to new people in new ways on Facebook. Then, of course, there is Empire Avenue that connects Twitter and Facebook and Blog streams in one place.  Suddenly the Twitter=Geeky, Facebook=non geeky division is very blurry.  I am building groups and using group restrictions for some of my posts, but honestly, it is awkward and there are too many people who belong to more than one group. 

The "aspect" system on Join Diaspora is a little cleaner, but the audience is not there... and might make it there and might not.  I am still searching for the best solution... how do you manage all of your alter identities on the web?

Monday, May 2, 2011

SamCast Guest Appearance

Not so long ago, I made a guest appearance on the SamCast weekly podcast. His show is quite a bit of fun, and if you haven't checked it out yet, you can listen to me yammer on about the 3DS....

I am working on another review for him, so this could become a "regularly irregular" collaboration. It was a great lot of fun and I am looking forward to it continuing.

Life as a Maker

The philosophy of living life as a maker is one we strongly embrace. Our house is filled with workspaces, tools, odd bits and pieces and a lot of creative/experimental freedom.  Our making happens in the yard, in the garden, in the kitchen, in the shop and in the office ( and most rooms in between). If you page through this blog, you will find many examples and samples. Everything from forge work, to gardening/canning, to fire play.

The fact that this conviction is core to our beliefs has driven me to my latest endeavor.

You may have heard there is a MakerFaire coming to Indiana Oct 1-2 this year. I am so excited about the possibilities in this, and so determined to make it successful, that I have volunteered as their Director of Social Media for the event.

I have launched a Facebook page for TekVenture ( the sponsors) and there will be lots of juicy maker information and inspirations there. We will also be starting some Maker conversations. Watch soon for this to grow over into Twitter, EmpireAve and other Social Venues. I am looking forward to reaching out to other regional makers and getting everyone else as fired up as I am. So get over to Facebook, like the page and get in on the discussion soon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Why the Verge is exciting

Last week, I finally made it to a VergeIndy meeting, and not only do I regret not making it to one sooner, but this has made it to the top of my "must attend" events each month.

First, the group was much larger than anything I had read indicated. There were easily 200 folks there. For those coming straight from work, there was also Beer and Pizza.  How can a professional meeting with beer &pizza  lose?

Last week, there were three startups giving pitches. The pitches were limited to 5 minutes, and not only did Matt do a great job of holding them to the time, the pitchmakers did a great job staying within their alloted time slot. Each pitch was followed by short Q&A from the audience, with critical questions encouraged to help the start-ups with their thought processes and keep them moving forward. The questions asked were pointed, but not vicious. It was apparent that they were asked either to clarify a point, or cover something the 5 min pitch may not have covered.

The first pitch was from TheTyros

They have created a unique application for connecting sports officials ( High School and Club Sports levels). The application is actually a community, where new officials can connect with experienced ones, as well as a scheduling tool that helps officials find open games. The idea behind the application was as much to help grow the future community of sports officials as it was to make it easy for officials to find jobs. 

 Like most community applications, @thetyros  gives users ratings, although it was not clear what the factors were that go into the ratings. It was obvious that their founders included people who had been sports officials for years and were passionate about the topic as well as the product. They have a signup for Beta users on their webpage, so if you are a sports official, or are interested  in becoming one, give their app a spin. 

The second pitch was from BigBlueWagon
BigBlueWagon is developing a video sharing/embedding application that came from the root needs of their video production clients. They told me an interesting story after the pitches about an experience with a corporate client at a Vegas show who contracted them for 24 hour video turn around, but they did not post or share the video for 2 weeks because that process was difficult. Their tool aims to make it easy for one shot video sharing/embedding for almost anyone. In addition to custom embed codes that allow you to put controlled video free from other site branding or comments on your web page, it also can upload to multiple video sites at once. 
They are in the process of  signing up Beta users, so be sure to drop them a line or tweet @bigbluewagon.  

The final pitch of the night was from the winners of the most recent IndyStartup weekend, GrabACh.at
This product is attempting to make a safer version of Chat Roulette by linking to Facebook accounts, and to make it easier to find chats you would enjoy by making your chat interests tags that are searchable. While this product still has some potential control issues, they demonstrated what appeared to be  a fully functional base application. The beta testing will be interesting, and they are taking applications now.  @grabachat is also doing a good job having product discussions with potential endusers on their twitter stream. 

Verge was not over after the pitches and the SMS voting for winners. The time/space afterward for networking, meetings and connections was buzzing with energy and activity. This was not a bunch of middleschool geeks lining the walls at the school dance, these were full blown tech startup entrepreneurs at the top of their games.  Wanna connect with the In-crowd in Indy?@vergeIndy   is where you will find them.