Friday, January 30, 2009

New year, new venue, new challenges

So first week back to work, oh woe is me.

This year I'm taking it easy; no make that taking it easier. So far at Vaughan Town, I have managed to add something new to every single program, but from now on I'm going with what I have. Don't worry, over the course of time I have managed to acquire a lot of material, but I won't be pushing myself anymore.

I have been doing this job for nearly 2 years now. The role itself I love, but as usual (as in most jobs) office politics play a huge role, and sadly they are playing a part in Vaughan Town now, and I only hope it doesn't affect the program in the long term. Time will tell.

Onto the program. Well we had a complete Masters group 15 of them, also a brand new venue in Salamanca! To start with, we encountered issues with the internet service in the hotel, or lack of it. The hotel seems to think it makes business sense to charge its clients 10 Euros for 1 hours use! In this economic climate and internet access being what it is, I find this ludicrous; especially when the cafe next door offers it for free?? A few other issues behind the scenes which I'm hoping will be sorted for future programs.

The hotel staff are friendly and approachable, English levels not too high, and I don't think that there are quite enough areas in the hotel to sit a chat - two large areas (one smoking one non smoking) but not many isolated places, unless you go into town.
The hotel itself is very nice; but it´s a bit of a maze to orientate yourself within.

The sketches were well liked and everyone seemed to have a great time, lots of participation and upbeat presentations; BRILLIANT!!

We were also joined this week by Tom and Richard who were very nice indeed. They were both approachable and it was good to finally put faces to names, and to be able to dispel some beliefs that existed about Vaughan Town with them. Hopefully this will be a wonderful move forward to bring the two parts of the company together.

I know I said I wouldn't do anything extra or new, but old habits die hard and I did some new things that worked well, so I will incorporate them into future programs.
For example, the masters this week all had to do a job interview as their presentation which turned out very good, lots of effort and creative ideas.

For the first program of the year what a wonderful start, brilliant, simply brilliant!!

ps. its always nice when you know you are in the company of someone special, and this week a participant: Rita Golden Gelman was with us. She wrote this book (and many others) - TALES OF A FEMALE NOMAD well worth reading, its on my shopping list ;)

Feel free to check out the photo's below
Vaughan Town - Salamanca - Program 138

Friday, January 23, 2009

Strange but true

I received this in an email and simply had to share - SO FUNNY!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Style makeover

I need your help, I want to change my image, and not sure which way to go.
I dont think I have ever really had a 'style', I simply like what I like. I have tried many different clothing choices, and lots of hair colours and hair styles, although my hair grows thicker rather than longer and it has a lot of grey on the sides.

Sadly, I'm not as good looking as Brad Pitt and I don't have the cheek bones of Johnny Depp (or his hair) so my choices are limited.
As for clothing, yes ok, I have far too many Superman t-shirts :S but in general I like loose dark jeans, and funky casual clothing I would say, nothing to wild or extreme though.

My beard grows quick (faster than my hair it seems) so I can take it or leave it, although when it grows I now have ginger and grey in there!! I do look younger without a beard and having a goatie or tusk I do like.

So does anyone have any tips, solutions, ideas? Is anyone outthere an image consultant a fancy a challenge (and what a challenge it would be!) let me know your ideas, below are some videos that may give me (and you) some answers.

Hair Care For Men:Going Bald - The Styling Options

how about this tip

Hair Removal For Men:How To Manage Chest Hair

and finally this tip

Tips For Shaving:How To Style Pubic Hair

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dream job, update!!

You may recall my post about 'The best job in the world', well since then I have come up with MANY ideas about possible video applications and their presentation style.
This led onto an idea on presentations, using this as subject matter for my work at Vaughan Town (which I will soon be implementing to the Master students).

The site itself (CLICK HERE), seems to have made a huge under estimation of how interested people would be. Within 3 days they had received over 1 million hits on their website!
Wow, for marketing and publicity: 5 star's!

A step too far?? It was also revealed that one applicant that got a 'tattoo' was fake and also was one of the companies employees!!!!
Having had several tattoo's I could tell from the video it was fake, but to be an employee as well?
Why taint what was already a good idea?

They also have been inundated with applications - so it seems my estimate was way off too. However, to be honest I'm not sure that I agree with the company posting the video applications on their site.
To me it would be like showing someone's application form, you just don't do it!

The flipside of this of course, is you can clearly see that at least half of the applicants stand no chance, simply because they don't meet any of the requirements, too long, too short, no subject matter and are simply begging videos.

This job, in fact any job, is about wants and needs: what do you want and what do they need and then meeting both sides.
60 seconds to sell yourself is no time at all. So do yourself a favour and think before you press record; what is important to them and for you to let them know about you.
Then consider how you can make this information interesting - sitting at your computer and talking into your webcam is BORING!!!

As the videos are there, look at them, see what you like and what you don't like.
That should give you a better idea about how yours should look.

Good luck - you're gonna need it.

Read the small print

9. Your involvement in the selection process and your employment is entirely at your own risk. You agree to release Tourism Queensland and its nominees, and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees, and all others connected with the selection process and your employment, from any and all claims, actions, damages, liabilities, losses, costs and expenses, in any way arising out of or resulting from your involvement in the selection process and your employment, including, without limitation, any and all claims, actions, and liabilities for injury, loss or damage to you, to anyone else or to any property, regardless of whether or not such injury, loss or damage was caused by the negligence or misconduct of Tourism Queensland, its nominees or any of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives or employees, or anyone else connected with the selection process and your employment. You agree to indemnify Tourism Queensland and its nominees and each of their respective officers, directors, agents, representatives and employees, and all others connected with the project and hold them harmless from any and all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, expenses and losses (including, without limitation, legal fees) of any kind or nature whatsoever in any way caused by or arising out of your involvement in the selection process and your employment. - I don't like the sound of that

4. Act responsibly and demonstrate good moral character. - Well I think THEY blew that one!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just for giggles

Right now I have far too much free time - so I spend most of it surfing (the net) and I came across this beauty...

...Bonnie sez, "Everyone has at least one friend who has seen parts of the Star Wars original trilogy but can’t quite tell you every plot point in order. Joe Nicolosi recorded his friend Amanda as she retells the story from the tiny amount she’s seen with hilarious results."

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another fine mess

Laurel and Hardy
"Where do you get your warped sense of humour", I was recently asked; which led to a conversation about these two influences. They are to blame, well when I say blame, I mean they may be partly responsible. You see I grew up laughing my ass off at the chaotic, weird and wonderful situations they got themselves into.

I distinctly remember all those little quirks Stanley would do which drove Oliver mad - such as him being able to light his thumb simply by flicking it, him being able to raise his hat off his head by blowing his thumb and my favourite the ear and nose holding trick (simple yet very confusing for many)

I also recall with fondness that wonderful little tune - The ku-ku song; in fact whenever anyone would annoy me with their incompetence I would whistle it. My ex understood the reference and would give me bad looks or nudge me when she caught me doing it, I didn't even realize myself sometimes!

How about a little history lesson, are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.
Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965) was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Lancashire, England.
Laurel began his career in Glasgow Britannia Theatre. He gradually worked his way up the ladder of supporting roles until he became the featured comedian, as well as an understudy to Charlie Chaplin. He emigrated to America in 1912 where he decided to change his name; he worried that was too long to fit onto posters.

Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892 – August 7, 1957) was born Norvell Hardy in Georgia, USA. Upon turning 18, he changed his first name to that of his father who had died years earlier, henceforth calling himself Oliver Norvell Hardy.
By his late teens Hardy was a popular stage singer, and he operated his own moviehouse. He thought he could do better than some of the movie comedians he was presenting, so in 1913 he became a movie actor.

The humor of Laurel and Hardy was generally visual with slapstick thrown in, for me my first taste of Vaudeville. The basis of their films were simple plots with a lot of comedic moments, usually involving Oliver taking the brunt of the misfortune. They made silent films, "talkies", b&w films and colour and several feature films.

To me they are legends, and below is a small sample of a typical Laurel & Hardy moment, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

and this is how they would look today

There were of course other early influences which get a honorary mention - The Two Ronnies, Rowan Atkinson, Abbot and Costello, Monty Python, Tommy Cooper, Lenny Henry, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams and of course the many many Carry on episodes. I know there were many others but these stand out the most.
Who were your influences and why?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keeping those promises

If you want a real incentive to keep your New Year's resolutions - well you can start by putting your money where your mouth is!

When it comes to money most people get serious, and if that's your motivation, so be it.
Access this site PLEDGEHAMMER and tell them your resolution(s) and how much your willing to gamble on you completing them, if you fail you pay, simple!

There are similar schemes such as WEIGHTNAGS which will help you stay of track to losing that extra weight; we all know how easy it is to get sidetracked.
Then there's MYTIMETOQUIT this site helps you with stopping smoking - which this day and age is important as not only is it SO expensive but you can hardly do it anywhere anymore.

All in all there are less excuses to not complete your resolutions, so go get the help, after all that's why it's there!

Good luck

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dream job?

It's being billed as "the best job in the world" - six months working as a "caretaker" on Hamilton Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

To good to be true!??!? Well perhaps, the job seems to be as stated with some additional perks - pay packet of nearly £70,000 and a rent-free three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.
All this for you and all you have to do in return is take photos and write a blog.

Still sounds TOO good to be true; well the old adage you never know till you try certainly applies here.

So what happens next?? The job is being advertised in 18 different countries you can be sure that at the very least 1,000 people are going to apply from each country (given the current economic situation I would multiply that figure by 5 at least), so that's 18,000 applicants for 11 positions!!

So how do you make your video stand out from the crowd; well at this point I leave you to your own devices, as I intend to explore this opportunity further.
I will let you know how I get on of course.

Before you go, throw another shrimp on the barby would ya!


Friday, January 09, 2009

Not all doom and gloom

With all the depressing stories all over the news about war, the economy and death its hard to feel there's any good news left in the world. But relax there is, and everyday in many ways amazing things happen and take place, its just a sad fact they don't get the say acclaim that bad news does.

Whilst looking for some good news stories to share with you I came across this site I AM THE SOLUTION - the concept is simple and I'm guessing the effects will be long lasting and life changing - THIS IS NEWS, not the garbage we are delivered on a daily and hourly basis.

I did this years ago and it really made a difference, make one of your resolutions a simply one - when you wake up do NOT turn on the news, instead put on some music that lifts you up, that makes you feel like dancing; it really helps.
Then do me, no, do yourself another favour look for goodness in the world, oh and one last thing SMILE, it's contagious ;)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thou shalt not waste time

As my new years resolution is not to waste time, I can no longer use these sites.
I'm therefore giving them to you, my loyal readers, enjoy

I'm off to replace my websites, ta taa for now

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

R.I.P. Mr Roberts

It is a sad fact that a lot of the magicians in The Magic Circle are elderly, with this comes the inevitable fact of passing on.
That happened this yesterday to a friend of mine, Peter Roberts.

I never had the opportunity to see Peter in action he was more a scholar of magic than a performer, but he was always a gentleman and very friendly; especially to new performers.
I did have the pleasure of working along side him on the committee of the Circle and recall his energy and vision for moving with the times; he was not old in mind.

His passing is a lose to the world not just the Circle. Enjoy where you are now, my friend ;)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Well Happy New Year Folks

Well the New Year in Spain was quite a quiet affair aside from the fireworks of course.
Me, Sandra and her family played a game similar to charades once the New Year was in and it was a lot of fun, even with the language barrier we had no problems playing together.
It's funny that at this one time of year the world seems to come together if only for a little while; a new year is just that, it's really a chance for us to let go of baggage, to start afresh, I think that's why they are so important to us globally.

This is a time for reflection as well as celebration. As you look back on the past year and all that has taken place in your life, remember each experience for the good that has come of it and for the knowledge you have gained.
Remember the efforts you have made and the goals you have reached.
Remember the love you have shared and the happiness you have brought.
Remember the laughter, the joy, the hard work, and the tears.
And as you reflect on the past year, also be thinking of the new one to come, because most importantly, this is a time of new beginnings and a celebration of life.

Instead of starting the New Year with an impossible dream (New Year's resolution) set yourself a goal, one you can achieve and will personally benefit from then go for it and enjoy the rest of the year ;)

Happy 2009, here's a clip to enjoy just for giggles
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