This month we’ll go out of this world, contemplate leaving this world, explore being cartoon characters, and investigate just how much luck ‘lucky people’ have.

Go Animate

Sean Perry portrait by Steve Davis using Go Animate

FIVEaa’s Sean Perry in a portrait by Steve Davis using Go Animate

Go Animate is a cartoon-making service with plenty of free options and some premium upgrades.

I find the best way to make use of Go Animate is to go to youtube first and log in with your free Google account via this link: http://www.youtube.com/create/GoAnimate.

The beaty of accessing this site through YouTube is that you get to upload videos directly into YouTube for free. In the method via Go Animate dot com, you need to pay for that privilege. NOTE: Make sure you follow the prompt in YouTube to Create a Channel before you go further, otherwise your cartoon might get lost in never land.

How it works is quite simple and I have actually pulled together a little restaurant scene of me and Sean re-enacting one of our shows. See below.

There are two pathways to follow.

The simplest is the quick video makers method where you choose your location from the list provided, choose your characters, type in some text for them to speak, preview your work and then, if you are happy, you can publish your video to YouTube in standard definition for free.

The full featured video makers pathway has some free options too but also offers a lot more choice about locations, props, camera angles, etc. In the portrait of Sean Perry, right, I quickly pulled together the most memorable aspects of Mr Perry within about 10 minutes. He will surely be struck by how lifelike it is!!

By upgrading you can upload your own characters to animate, insert your own locations and props, and output your videos in high definition.

As a marketing consultant, I suggest using tools like Go Animate for business owners who know they need to make video to help with their online marketing but are too shy to go on camera.

For you, I suggest this might be a fun tool to play with for kids during school holidays and weekends, or as a fun way of creating novel replacements for greeting cards. Imagine creating an animation in which you can tell someone how much you care, while dressed as a ninja!

Take a look at the quickie with Sean Perry and Steve Davis.

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You can make your own cartoons at Go Animate via YouTube.

Google Mars

Mars via Google Earth

Mars via Google Earth

Yes, you read that right.

Google Earth, the wonderful piece of free software that lets you zoom in and out around the world, now lets you discover Mars up close and personally.

With the Mars Curiosity Rover now in full swing exploring the Red Planet, Google is sharing the bounty from NASA through this incredible application.

Not only can you choose to view up to the minute images from Mars, you can also choose to overlay old impressions and maps produced by such old world luminaries as:

  • Nathaniel Green’s map from 1877
  • Giovanni Schiaparelli’s map from 1890
  • And the USAF’s map from 1962

While you’re on Mars, be sure to click the section that turns on the Traveller’s Guide because it can give you more in depth information on highlights.

For example, while hovering over Syrtis Major, I clicked the icon made up of two green humans which denotes the guide. It turns out that Syrtis Major

was the first marking recorded from Earth, spied by Huygens in 1659 on November 28 … Huygens sketched a ragged dark triangle pointing north—about all he could see on Mars with his crude telescope. When the next generation of telescopic observers began to map more dark patches on Mars, Huygens’s dark triangle was so prominent that all the early observers could see it. Later observers timed when Syrtis Major faced Earth and then calculated all the way back to Huygens’s timings of the same phenomenon, which allowed them to calculate the rotation period of Mars with extreme accuracy. For this reason, some astronomers nicknamed it the Hourglass Sea

Something else to enjoy while on Mars, is flying. Just like with Google Earth, you can hop into the cockpit of a plane and go flying around on Mars for that excellent, ‘virtual tourist’ experience! Go to Tools > Enter Flight Simulator.

I’ll leave this segment with a video about the Mars features from gearthblog entitled Google Earth 5 – 3D Mars!

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Take a ride to Mars, yourself, at Google Earth.

My life in a morgue

My Life in a Morgue - The Hoopla

Colin Long’s ‘My Life in a Morgue’, insightful reading. (Image via The Hoopla)

Colin Long is a great fan of 1395 FIVEaa and has become a good ‘virtual’ friend of mine thanks to Twitter. I mention this because one of the things that caught my eye when he connected with me on Social Media, was his biography mentioning that he, at the time, ‘works in hospital mortuary’.

I am a sucker for anyone who has a job outside the ordinary, especially one that deals in a real, tangible way with the visceral, life-and-death nature of life.

Since that time, Colin has started blogging more and has recently had an article published in The Hoopla, an ‘online news and magazine site for a community of wise, warm, witty and wonderful women’, co-founded by  Wendy Harmer, who apparently was the person who asked Colin to submit the story of his life in a morgue.

Here are just some of the things that caught my attention in Colin’s piece:

  • You work where? – this was the most common question he got during his time in the morgue
  • Death is swept under the carpet in our society – Nothing brings it to the surface like meeting someone who works in a mortuary. I imagine meeting someone like Colin strips away the last line of ignorance that most of us carefully construct around the subject, a bit like a smoker meeting a lung transplant surgeon!
  • Someone has to look after the dead – I like Colin’s observation that life ceases every day for some people around us and that during the time from death to burial or cremation, someone has to look after the bodies. Actually, one thing that has struck me, on the handful of occasions when I’ve lost someone close, is just how much you become acutely aware of the hustle and bustle of life. It is as if when we are in full swing and consumed in either busyness or routines, we are in sync with society. But when our personal universes are jarred by the loss of one of the bodies in our complex orbits, time stops for us temporarily and we get to ‘observe’ the frenetic pace of life as an ‘outsider’. It is a mixed sensation. On one hand there is indignation that the ‘world’ has not slowed down to mourn with you, while at the same time there is a sense of relief that life can and will go on, albeit in a new way for those still living.

There are lots of stories ‘buried’ in Colin’s memory, and just a couple he shares in this story involve:

  • A 317kg body that took lots of planning, six people, and a car engine hoist to move. The family was denied cremation due to size limitations and so had a choose a double plot.
  • A 40-something mother who had suffered an aneurysm at a rock concert and wound up in the mortuary. When Colin opened the body bag to check the ID, he saw a note scrawled in pencil by the woman’s teenage daughter exclaiming she was the ‘best mum in the world’.

There are also three quotes I’d like to capture here, directly from Colin’s piece:

  • “within the cold confines of the mortuary, the dead are all the same – each corpse is of the same status, regardless of its background and previous social standing.”
  • “you can never mistake them as simply “sleeping” – when you’re up-close, it’s quite clear that their souls have most certainly departed, leaving behind only a shell for disposal”
  • “Life exists. Death exists, and lasts for much, much longer. I think we need to talk about it a lot more, in an appropriate and healthy way.”

And a final thought from Colin revolves around taking children to funerals. He recalls being kept away from funerals at a child and the anguish and confusion caused by the sudden disappearance of a much loved aunt, who never returned.

He believes children should be exposed to the concept of death from an early age and suggests that it is often not the case because parents have not come to terms with the concept themselves.

You can read Colin’s full article at The Hoopla – and I would suggest that doing so is a matter of life and death!

 

10 things lucky people do differently

10 things lucky people do differentlyI have no idea how this list of 10 Things Lucky People Do Differently came to be in my inbox. I think it was a link I followed from a link while following another link. It caught my attention and I filed it for later review.

What I like about this list is that it does break down some ‘habits’ and ‘mindsets’ that do seem common among people who are ‘scoring goals’ in life or at least achieving a state of happiness.

Here are some highlights from the list”

  1. Lucky people maintain a relaxed attitude that is open and aware. I like the experiment referred to in which a psychologists asked lucky and unlucky people to look through a newspaper and count how many photographs were inside. Unlucky people took about two minutes to count them all. Lucky people took just a few seconds, mainly because on the second page was a message that said, ‘stop counting, there are 43 photographs in this newspaper.’ The point is that when we have an experience or meet new people, those of us who are more relaxed and a lot more likely to notice opportunities and potential that is right under our noses.
  2. Lucky people appreciate what they have right now. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. It is believed that when you are in the constant habit of feeling and giving gratitude, the world wants to give you more and more, possibly because you are more enjoyable to be around! The article also reminds us that we probably have some amazing people in our family circles and amazing bits of nature close by – things we can easily overlook in the rush of life.
  3. Lucky people work toward their goals every day without fail. This point is based on the old maxim that the harder you work, the luckier you will become. The author lays it on the line and says if you want good luck in your life, you’ve got to be willing to give it 100% every day. No slacking off!
  4. Lucky people help when they’re able.  It’s impossible to help someone else and not get a little help for yourself in the process. The author says, ‘when you help others, don’t expect something in return. Just enjoy the experience of helping that person and building a stronger personal relationship. That stronger relationship will likely be there for you in your moments of darkness.’
  5. Lucky people enjoy new experiences and take calculated risks.  If you want more luck, mix it up because unlucky people tend to be creatures of habit. They take the same route to and from work every single day, talk to the same types of people at social functions, and live out the same routine day in and day out. In contrast, lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. They are adventurous. They take calculated risks. They are consistently taking action in the face of uncertainty. The lesson here is that when you take small risks, either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.

To help you get going, the article suggests making a list of six new experiences – things you have never done before but would like to. Roll a dice and carry out whichever one is selected. You can then replace that with a new experience.

For your first new experience, click here to read through the full list of 10 things lucky people do differently.

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