The day a squirrel made everything okay

I approach one of those pivotal moments in one’s life.

In less than three weeks, my beautiful wife and I will be leaving Wellington, New Zealand – the city which has been my home for more than 14 years. We will then spend a week with each of our families before boarding a flight to San Francisco – the city which will become our home for the foreseeable future.

The pivot has not yet occurred, and our actual departure is still just over a month away.

Yet I am already looking back. I’m looking back at the time we spent with our dear friends in Wellington before the move.

I’m remembering going to see Iron Man 2 at midnight at the Embassy cinema with Brock (who bought the tickets), James and Chris, Keith, Jem, Tim and Michelle, and of course Mia.

It’s tomorrow night, but it’s already happened.

It’s already happened and we’re living in San Francisco and alongside all the awesome newness we’re missing our friends. We’re talking about them fondly, and remembering the drinks we had before the midnight screening on a school night.

It’s already happened and we’re back living in New Zealand, and our kids have grown up and have kids of their own. We’re sitting in our comfortable chairs, drinking tea and smiling as we remember those last few weeks in Wellington before the start of our first San Francisco adventure.

It’s tonight, and the movie is tomorrow. I sit in bed as Mia reads the third Harry Potter book for the first time. I look around the room we’re sub-letting, and I can feel the seconds flowing steadily by. I look back down at the laptop as my fingers clatter across the keys and these letters appear on the screen.

The moment of clarity fades away as I find myself staring into nothing and remembering the squirrel. Tom Rix arrived in San Francisco today himself, and 8 hours ago he posted this image of a squirrel. (Thanks Tom!)

Somehow the squirrel made everything okay. This upcoming move has made me feel in turn excited, terrified and numb, and as we approach the actual day the sheer change of it has grown increasingly overwhelming.

But there are squirrels in San Francisco. We will get to see squirrels. And that is Quite Awesome.

When I saw the squirrel (of all things), somehow I knew it was going to be okay.

So here I am, looking forward and imagining looking back. Finally writing another blog post for the first time in probably months, feeling like I’m looking into a whirlpool which will be sucking us in and then spitting us out.

Once we’re free from it, we’ll look up – shake the water from our hair, and realize we’re not in New Zealand any more. Perhaps I’ll remember to update you as to how it feels on the other side.

I’ll do my best to.

Published in: on 27 April 2010 at 11:06 pm  Comments (4)  

This is real life.

Yep. This is it.

Look around you – away from this blasted screen.

All that stuff? Real.

If you run your hand over it, you can feel the texture of its surface. Real.

Right now? This is it. This is your life.

This may all seem blatantly obvious to you, in which case you’ve probably stopped reading. For whatever reason, however, when I stop to consider that this is real life, it is almost always a revelation.

Have I always been so disconnected?

Certainly as far back as I can remember I’ve spent most of my time more in my thoughts than my body.

Lost in a book or a movie or a song or an idea. Full of hope, worry, regret or nostalgia. Seeing what I think is in front of me rather than what is.

And when I stop, when I stop like have right now, when I make an effort to cease the babble in my head and see this moment – this moment which is the essence of what this life actually is – when I do that, everything tends to appear a liitle absurd.

But again, perhaps that’s just me.

Whatever the case, this I know: in a moment I’ll stop writing and you’ll stop reading. I will get up from this park bench and go buy some fish. I haven’t the foggiest what you’ll do next.

And for both of us, this will still be real life.

Help find Kevin Flynn & get your ARG on…

Flynn Lives

Following the awesome Comic-Con live event, now we might all get a chance to dive into the universe of Tron and its upcoming sequel. The sign-up button shown above helps to cement hopes that this ‘viral’ is going to evolve into a fully-fledged Alternate Reality Game.

There have already been a number of ARGish elements surrounding the first event. Alongside these have been more than one suggestion of 42 Entertainment‘s involvement & comparisons to the start of their Dark Knight game.

I briefly described the path from received packages to Flynn’s Arcade in my last post, but not what proceeded from there…

Those at the arcade over the weekend who played ‘Space Paranoids’ found a code appear onscreen. These codes were given context once the “Flynn Lives” t-shirts provided were viewed under blacklight to point us to a new webpage at http://www.flynnlives.com/derez.

Each code entered unlocked a partial high-res image of a lightcycle and an audio clip. Once all five codes were finally entered, a high-res teaser trailer for the film was revealed – the link for which quickly spread across the net.

Which brings us up to today, when a sign-up form appeared. If you’re interested in playing a new ARG, or have never experienced one before, I suggest adding your email and seeing where it goes.

As always, there are no guarantees as to where this will all lead – but what have you got to lose?

Awesome Start to ‘Tron Legacy’ Viral Promotion

Flynn's Arcade Tokens

This past weekend has seen a most awesome viral promotion event take place in San Diego to promote the upcoming Tron Legacy at Comic-Con. Packages were sent out containing Flynn’s Arcade tokens and flash drives – the latter which contained an animated gif which pointed to the website http://www.flynnlives.com.

Alongside providing insights into the mythology surrounding the Tron Sequel, the site provided a countdown and a location – near the main Comic-Con convention centre. Those who assembled there and then were given blacklights and sent to scour the area to check “Flynn Lives” posters for hidden messages. These messages pointed to a new location – where the crowd awaited a grand opening.

Those of us living vicariously through those there rapidly refreshed our Twitter searches, and the photos and videos began to roll in. Flynn’s Arcade had been recreated in downtown San Diego, complete with Flynn’s game from the first film “Space Paranoids”. On top of this, a secret door eventually opened – and those present could feast their eyes on one of the stunning new Lightcycles:

(video via Dave Cobb)

Naturally a long queue extended out the door, and the crowds were moved into and then out of the arcade until late. The games were free, cast and crew of the film were present (apparently along with staff of 42 Entertainment), and the mood was euphoric.

All in all, a wonderfully successful viral event – awesome nostalgic fun for casual fans, and providing an entry point for what we hope will be a great deal of extra depth for those looking for it…

A big thanks to all those who posted updates, photos & videos!

Getting to O.K.

Getting to O.K.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a relentless optimist.

No matter what situation I am in – no matter how insurmountable the task may seem, my mantra is *almost* always:

“Everything is going to be O.K.”

I have been encouraged in this belief by it being proved right time and time again. Once I had got onto this line of thinking, in every case I could think of it really had turned out O.K. in the end.

But of course while we live nothing really ever ‘ends’ – the chapters just keep on coming. Eventually we find ourselves with another set of complications, another set of insurmountable tasks and a situation in which we feel like there will be no end to the problems.

“Everything is going to be O.K.”

The trick, however, is getting to O.K.

It’s all very well to be optimistic, but it doesn’t actually change the situation. It doesn’t take away all the things we are dreading having to face, deal with and resolve. It doesn’t take away the complications which haven’t even hit us yet.

In fact, a friend suggested that in this regard pessimism is in fact a much easier option. That it’s easier to assume the worst is on its way and then do your best to avoid it happening – instead of imagining some rosy future and trying to somehow get there.

I can see their point, and it makes me want to clarify I think that being an optimist doesn’t mean being an optimist about everything. For me it’s bigger picture – I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, or that more terrible things aren’t potentially on the way.

What I’m saying is that if you’re so focused on what you don’t want to happen, you might get out of the mess you’re in, but where are you left? Being out of a bad situation doesn’t necessarily mean you’re set up to enter into a good one.

However, if you hold firm in the knowledge that everything is going to be O.K., you can start picturing just what “O.K.” looks like. You can begin to work out what steps might be required to get from here to there. You’ve turned a reactive response into a proactive one.

So, when you finally get out of the difficult situation you’re in, you’re at least a step closer to where you would really like to be.

You can get to O.K.

And then perhaps you can relax for a moment or two until you face your next set of challenges…

Permission to Play

Last Friday I took part in an impromptu bit of fun which arose out a discussion in the Wellington Twitter community. Thanks to a tweet by @mikeforbes and the efforts of @spanishmanners, we christened our inaugural #formalfriday.

Formal Friday

With casual clothes the norm in so many many of our workplaces these days, the concept of a Casual Friday is increasingly irrelevant. Going to work wearing formal wear, however, has become both novel and fun. Especially when followed by drinks and dinner afterward to see what the others decided to wear.

As ‘adults’, most of us are simply too shy to appear silly in front of our peers. To dress up, to slide down banisters, or to randomly break into song. I for one (I’m sad to say) tend not to step out of line unless perhaps others are doing the same.

In an organized group, I’ll run around in circles, dance in the street, or even wear a suit to work. For some reason, however, I seem to need permission to play. If I feel like I’m not alone in it, if I feel that it’s a condoned activity, then I’m in.

It’s a start, I guess. At least I’m playing at all. I figure the best way forward is to simply ensure there are more group activities awaiting me in the coming weeks, months and years. In time, maybe I’ll find myself playing without even thinking about it.

So what’s next? Firstly I intend to organize some Cryptozoo runs here in Wellington. If you’d like to get involved, just let me know.

Secondly there’s a little something a bunch of us devised today – a multi-day group gaming, reading, watching and playing binge we’re calling #schoolholidays…

Giant Sea Life Moves Into Wellington…

Residents and film crews are interested, but unperturbed:

Apparently this is the preperation for filming a television ad this coming Monday/Tuesday night (29/30th June 2009), which will include low-flying helicopters and spotlights.

[EDIT: As I understand it, Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd of July are the “rain days” – so with the weather we’ve bee having, I expect this filming will now be happening then.]

If you live in the area DO NOT BE ALARMED!

Giant Sea Life will not actually be attacking, it’s all just for the benefit of television audiences everywhere.

I’d be intrigued to pop down again to see the actual filming…

How Wellington PWNed the Multiverse…

I recently gave a talk for Wellington’s 5th Pecha Kucha Night at the (soon to be demolished) Overseas Terminal building…

I quickly realised that my chances of *explaining* what Alternate Reality Games, or even just what ‘The Lost Ring‘ was all about in 6 minutes & 40 seconds was futile. As a result, I just went for a scrapbook approach – here are a series of extraordinary experiences which came out of this game.

This means of course that if you’re not familiar with these forms of entertainment & collaboration you may be at a bit of a loss – but I hope you find it entertaining all the same…

If you’re interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to fill you in on the details over a beer, coffee or the interwebs.

An Introduction to Twitter

Seeing as there are no doubt hundreds of guides out there to help people start using Twitter, I had absolutely no desire or intention of adding my own drop to the ocean.

However, when preparing a talk for the Department of Conservation web team, I was unable to find any that I really liked. As a result, I sighed deeply and wrote my own. I had intended on it going no further, but was shortly thereafter asked if I could send it through to my wife who was assisting her workmates with starting on Twitter.

Following further discussions with friends who were in similar positions with workmates and family, I’ve figured I might as well make it available for all:

Online version

Downloadable .pdf

So there it is. You’re welcome to use it as you wish, or ignore it comepletely. If you have any feedback or suggestions for changes, they would be most welcome.

I’m certainly no expert.😉

Published in: on 21 June 2009 at 9:48 pm  Comments (4)  

Transparency Starts at ‘Home’

Transparency
I recently had an experience at work where I asked someone to go above and beyond what they normally would for a  good cause. They were able to give no promises, and I understood it was unlikely to actually happen.

In the eleventh hour, they pulled out the stops and managed to do what I had requested, and I was naturally thrilled.

When I went to give the good news to the person it was for, however, I suddenly realised my mistake. However it had happened, I had provided the wrong reference number – and all the extra effort had been expended on the wrong task.

I immediately had two options:
1) own up to the colleague who had gone the extra mile
2) not mention it, as it was possible they’d never find out anyway

I’m sad to say that my immediate instinct was to do the latter. It was only after taking a deep breath and actually thinking about the situation that I owned up right away. I don’t know about you, but for years I had issues with fearing what people would think of me if I admitted to fault. The problem was that the moment I hesitated, it suddenly became increasingly difficult to be honest about it.

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about how engaging with people through “Social Media” requires honesty, openness and transparency.

I think it’s as good a time as any to remember that it’s just as important (if not more) to be transparent, open and honest in our everyday dealings with workmates, friends and family.

You might “get away with it” – but for how long, and at what cost?

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