Being Human…..

So…yet another post that has absolutely nothing to do with being lazy!  Lately, I have been pondering on my humanity.  ‘What do you mean?’, you might ask.  Well, when registering/signing up for something on the internet, you are often faced with this:

The good old test to determine whether you are human or spam mail.  It might just be me, but I have found that such words are getting increasingly difficult to identify – even for a human being, such as myself.

Upon failing the ‘test’ on the third time around, I vented my frustration on facebook.  To my delight this has become quite a source of amusement….. I learnt that (quote, unquote from a friend):

Apparently in determining whether or not you are human you are also helping to convert great works of literature into a digital format. Initially when converting documents an OCR (optical character recognition) application converts all that it can, anything left over is left to humans to convert via capcha codes. 

A valid question from my other friend:

I just read this post, and I have a rookie-level question: if our answers for the codes are being used to convert words that OCR can’t interpret into a digital format, how do the websites that want to determine that I’m not a robot know whether or not I am entering the correct answer?

Good question!  And the response from my learned friend:

The word on the left is a control word, which both OCR programs agree on. The word on the right is a suspicious word, which the OCR programs disagree on, and which they can’t find in a dictionary. If a person identifies the control word successfully the software assumes that they have also identified the suspicious word correctly, and once a few people have done so that becomes a confirmed word too.

Who said facebook was a waste of time?  It’s a pure gem of an educational resource!

If you want to read more on the topic (and also photo credit for the above image): Wikipedia goodness right here.

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Fabulous Round Up Fridays…..

  • Open House Melbourne is happening next weekend on 28 and 29 July!  My picks (from experience) include Manchester Unity Building and Capitol Theatre.  Don’t miss this gem of an event.  NB.  Some buildings are balloted and some have massive lines – do you homework and plan ahead using the website.
  • Winter’s well and truly here.  Get your knitting on!  Easy, free patterns for woolly scarves and other favourites at justb.
  • For the photography lovers – flashback in time.
  • Nerd’s Eye View – a travel blog that reminds me of the power of story-telling.

Photo Credit: TimeOut

The Art of Losing

Throughout life, I’ve come to observe that there is a positive correlation between laziness and losing things – most noticeable in myself (sadly).  One of my closest friends is notorious for losing things also, but she is also great at telling us that she has not lost the item, just that it is momentarily misplaced.  The difference between the two eludes me.

Today, I received a call from a telemarketer (please keep reading……)  Usually, I automatically tune out once I work out that they are trying to sell me something or that I have won some holiday through some competition that I did not enter.  Today was different.  What they were offering was actually a clever idea.

It’s called Secure Sentinel.  The basic gist is that they provide a one call assistance should I experience the loss or theft of my purse, wallet or handbag.  Once I ring them, they automatically cancel all my cards etc on my behalf and assist with the re-registration process.  Snazzy idea, hey?  Unfortunately it’s a little expensive given that I don’t lose my wallet that often….and Melbourne is quite an honest city.  In fact, I met one of my good friends because she returned my misplaced mobile phone.  True story.

Perhaps.  One Day.  If I’m traveling the world or back-packing or become a millionaire, Secure Sentinel might come in handy! 🙂

And….who can write a post about losing something without quoting One Art by Elizabeth Bishop (and yes, this poem was read in the movie In Her Shoes in case you were wondering why it sounds familiar even though you don’t normally read poems):

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.

Fabulous Round-up Fridays…..

One of the many delights about my workplace is that we (informally) participate in Fabulous Shoes Fridays – where we wear fabulous shoes on Fridays (this is rocket science).  In an effort to be more intentional about my blogging, I am committing to Fabulous Round-up Fridays – where I download thoughts that have crossed my mind during the week.  So if you’ve been too lazy or too busy during the week to notice the happenings outside your world, this will give you a taste!

  • Not being the most fashion savvy girl in the world, I’ve only just begun to notice that coloured fashion tights are the next (or past) big thing.  I ordered a greeny-teal-coloured variety from ebay and wore them for the first time today.  There was a genius moment when I looked down at my legs and thought this is what Elphaba wore in Wicked. 
  • Different Kinds of Happy a sweet song about the beauty of a covenant promise.
  • Never be too busy to notice the struggles of those around you:  Stress Down Day.
  • Tom & Katie’s divorce.  Breaking up is hard.  Breaking up in the public arena is harder.  Breaking up and being told that your divorce was a ‘lucky strike’ is not warranted.
  • Going on holidays?  Some rules to fly by to avoid your luggage going missing.
  • Darrell Lea calls in administrator.
  • New York Times Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies – they’re my favourite too.
  • Learn something- Futurist till Forty
  • An exercise to warm up, repair your voice and expand your range: Sirening.
  • Spontaneous brunch outing at Palomine (236 High Street, Northcote, Melbourne) – bliss.

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The Lazy Person’s Guide to Trying Something New (Fitness Classes – Cycling)

Fitness Classes scare me almost as much as my Art Gallery experiences.  But like many instances in life, the fear factor comes from the unknown.  Hence, the first visit is by far the scariest.  So…… here it is – the good, bad and the ugly of cycling classes for first time adventurers!

GOOD

  • It burns a lot of energy!  One of the better classes for cardio fitness.  You will definitely feel the endorphins -the riveting I have truly worked out and can eat five bowls of pasta right now kind of feeling.
  • It is fun.  Please note that this is quite a significant statement as I am not the type of person to put fun and exercise in the same sentence.  The instructors take you on a simulated bike ride, through commentaries such as, ‘Imagine you are ridding on a flat, neighbourhood road to the corner coffee shop.’ (Although this can sometimes provoke unkind thoughts from me, such as puhlease can you not be so happy!)  I truly don’t know how the instructors can do such an exhausting ride, talk at the same time and still have a smile on their face.  Respect.

BAD

  • It really illuminates for me how unfit I am.
  • Don’t expect to look anything like your normal self after the class.  Think bright red face, sticky hair, and aroma punity (a term coined by my friend).  Definitely not the time to meet your crush.

TIPS

  • When the instructor asks at the beginning of the class whether anyone is here for the first time- say YES!  Don’t sit there feeling shy and thinking, uh, surely I can catch on.  Afterall, how hard can bike-riding be!  WRONG.  You want all the help you can get with setting up your bike and any explanation as to why you look silly at times.
  • Get to class early.  You want sufficient time to set up the bike.  Trust me, you want your bike to be comfortable……otherwise it’s going to be one painful hour and yonder.
  • Throughout the class, you will be asked to turn up the ‘juice’ – which is a rather strange term for turning up the resistance.  Now, for the lazy ones out there (aka me), you may be tempted to not turn up the resistance to make life easier for yourself.  WRONG AGAIN.  When you are going up the hill (ie. when the instructor shouts, ‘up’! and everyone rides standing up), you will be grateful for resistance….because otherwise you will fall off the bike.
  • Bring a water bottle and sweat towel – you will need it.

If you have any other tips or comments, please let me know.  I’m all ears!

Too Lazy To…..Go Full Steam for What You Love

Life’s too short to wander amongst mediocracy.  Copywriter Robert Pirosh went from copywriter to screenwriter – and succeeded.  Here is the cover letter he wrote to everyone he knew in the industry to get him started.

I hear you ask:  what about the millions more who try and fail, and whose story will never come to our attention?  The possibility of failure is inherent in trying for anything great.  I take comfort in the thought that you never leave a creative process empty-handed.  Joy from the creative process is in the creating.  Be inspired.  Start on something you love today without fear.

Photo Credit:  Fearlessly Frank

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Trying Something New (Singing)

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” ―Yip Harburg

I find singing both the easiest and hardest instrument to master.  Easy because it is accessible for most people.  You don’t need to buy an expensive instrument, or take out insurance for that matter, before you can start.  Hard because the instrument is not ready made.  It needs to be trained up gradually (and your health is crucial to its upkeep).

Few suggestions for those starting out:

  • Join a workshop (if you’re not sure whether you’re committed to getting lessons yet).  One of the best ones I’ve been to are held by The Idea of North.  There’s no pressure to do any solo singing.  They give excellent bite-sized tips on warm-ups, exercises and how to maintain your vocal health.  It’s exciting talking to those who sing for a living and still maintains that passion!  Plus they’re extremely personable and a joy to talk to.
  • Drink water.  And some more.
  • Practice.  Often and much (everyone sounds like an opera singer in the shower).
  • Never strain your voice.  If something feels unnatural, stop.  Your vocal range is something that develops overtime.
  • Breathe!  Don’t forget to breathe.  And when you breathe, don’t raise your shoulders.
  • And the most important one – enjoy yourself!  That’s why we sing 🙂

Too Lazy To…..Choose

“What is freedom?  Freedom is the right to choose:  the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice.  Without the possibility of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.”  ~Archibald MacLeish, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

Despite the fact that the premise of this blog is centered on being lazy at times…..one should never be too lazy to choose.  The choices we make today influences the set of choices available to us tomorrow.  Whilst some choices are of little consequence (should I eat the red or the blue smartie), who we are and where we journey in life often comes about as the result of our choices.

Today I choose to write the script of my life.  I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt and I choose to uplift rather than put down.

What choices will you make?