Thank you Canvas, for bringing us yet another brilliant British sketch show. 'Man Stroke Woman' is slightly less absurd than some other shows from across the Channel, but the usually recognisable situations combined with the visual and verbal humor of the characters who are struggling through relationships, work, friendship, love, uncertainty and doubts certainly does it for me.
A small appetizer:
Had a great meeting earlier this week. Together with two colleagues, I had lunch with Bart De Waele, founder and CEO of Netlash, a Ghent-based web company. Bart has agreed to be one of the speakers at the International Chair Jos Willems I mentioned earlier.
He'll be introducing us into the secrets of Search Engine Optimisation on the new web. Bart's commitment to the chair is another plus to the programme, which promises to be really good. If you want to find out if Bart knows what he's talking about, just Google 'Bart' and you'll see for yourself...
Even though our chat about social media, pens, pipes and lots of other things was really interesting, there was one thing that was bothering me. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but now I know. Having a rather visual memory and having 'met' Bart on the internet a few times before, I have finally found out what is was... Where is the beard, Bart?
Note: One of the other speakers I managed to meet up with earlier this month, is Cindy De Smet, well-known for many things web, among which the podcast aggregator Doppler and edublogs.be; she'll be showing people from the field of education how social media can be used in their line of work. Tom De Bruyne from i-merge has, in the meantime, already assured us he will also be on the speakers' list. A big thanks to them as well. More speakers are already known by the way, but I'll keep up the suspense just a little bit longer. In any case: you can be assured that blocking 15-17 March 2007 in your agenda will be worth your while.
I am a soup person. Especially with winter coming up, I'm already looking forward to eating lots of it. Not that I don't like soup in the summertime. But soup simply tastes better with the wind blowing outside, and snow and hail hitting the windows. Or when you have just come back from a long walk out in the freezing cold. Mmmm...
Anyway: today we had Sweet Potato Soup. Was it any good? Well, we sure didn't have any leftovers:
It was the Anti Dairy Fairy who provided me with the recipe, which you can find here. It's not that I am dead set against dairy products. But some people simply are allergic to them. Personally, I also notice it when I have been eating too much dairy: I get more cranky than otherwise and I tend to get rashes. When I drop the dairy, away go the rashes. And the crankiness? Well, that depends on other things as well :-)...
Anyway: if you're looking for some fine recipes which also have the benefit of not containing any dairy products, you know who to turn to!
Note: I changed some of the sweet potato for pumpkin, and added an extra pinch of salt. But that is, of course, a matter of personal taste. The soup, in any case, tastes great, with hints of Thailand stirring your taste buds. Must be the coconut milk, of course. But if it hadn't been for the Anti Dairy Fairy, I probably would never have tried to put that in my soup. So kudos to her!
Very funny: British actor David Armand (The Hollow Men) brings his own mime version of Torn, the (only so far) world hit by Natalie Imbruglia during the Secret Policeman's Ball of Amnesty International. Guess who's joining in?
By the way: the more you watch it, the funnier it gets... And no: I had never thought I'd ever use the words Natalie Imbruglia and funny in one and the same sentence.
[photo via Kami's Flickr photostream]
I had promised to tell you more about meeting up with Kami Huyse the other week. Actually, I'm glad she has already done the bigger part of that job. Saves me some time to cut to the chase, the political chase, that is.
Like Kami also mentioned, we talked, amongst other things, about politics, both in the US and in Europe. And what struck me the most is the fact that there is apparently a huge gap between what we think we know about each other's situation and reality. Especially on my behalf - after all, Kami's husband is Belgian so I am sure she probably has the advantage of a "bicultural" family.
Anyway: my idea of the US being a relatively monolithic block (the Easy Rider feeling: you can ride/drive from the East to the West coast and still eat the same burgers, speak the same language, stay in the same kind of motels,...) has changed more than I had expected. I knew, of course, that the US is a bunch of States united into a larger union, but that the differences between the different units were that big, did come as a surprise. A comparison which touched base as far as I was concerned, was that Texas was a bit like France: since they are bigger than their neighbours, they tend to consider themselves as more important too. On the other hand: I have always suspected George Dubya to have Napoleon-like traits.
Anyway: our conversation was too long and interesting to sum up in a blog post, so I'll just be antisocial with this social medium and keep the rest of our conversation to ourselves. Which reminds me: we also had some interesting discussions about Second Life and about the potential reach of social media. As you might know, I am a bit of a sceptic. And the news that 1/5 of the Belgian population has never even been online, which also got picked up by Philippe Borremans, does not make me any less...
Fortunately, there are still Belgians (even when living in Finland), like Piet, who have discovered social media and who are using them really well. I couldn't resist borrowing this little piece of footage from his blog; after all, it is completely in the spirit of this post:
And while we're at it - just one for the road:
Exactly 88 years ago, The Great War ended. With fewer veterans being alive every year, keeping the memory alive is probably becoming more and more important. After all, if anything, history hasn't taught us very much. So if you're ever in Ypres (Ieper) on 11 November, don't forget to go and watch this:
And if the pump and circumstance of 11 November is a bit too much for you, the Last Post is sounded every day at 8.00 pm at Menin Gate. Go and have a look. Goose pimples every time again if you ask me.
The EuroBlog2007 survey into the impact of social media on public relations and communications practice in Europe has started. Until the end of November, professionals in the field all over Europe will (hopefully) be participating in the survey. If you are a European pr or communications practitioner, please complete the questionnaire (it will take about ten minutes) and please do all you can to encourage colleagues to do so, too. Clearly, the more people who respond the more useful the results will be. So please link to the survey from your blog, and link and comment on the EuroBlog 2007 blog.
The results of the survey, conducted in co-operation with Euprera, will be made known at the EuroBlog conference, which will be held on 16 and 17 March of 2007. This conference, by the way, is to take place during a larger event, starting on the 15th of March already: the International Chair Jos Willems (ICJW) - more of a conference that an chair in the traditional meaning of the word, organised by the Communications Management and Journalism departments of Artevelde College in Ghent (Belgium) and named after the man who started the college over 40 years ago (website to launch soon). Yep: that's where I come in... :-D
The ICJW will be hosting a Dutch programme on Thursday 15 March both at the International Congress Center Ghent in the morning and at the college itself in the afternoon (in the afternoon there will be separate programmes for marketing communications and pr on the one hand, and journalism on the other). The list with speakers will include specialists in the field and should be available soon. On Friday 16 and Saturday 17 November, the ICJW welcomes the EuroBlog conference (English programme) at the Nemrod hall, located within the walls of the college. A call for papers for this conference will also be available in due course.
If you're interested in social media and the impact they have on the field of communications (be it in pr, marketing communications as well as journalism), the dates of the ICJW and the EuroBlog conference in particular should already be marked in red in your brand new 2007 agenda...
Note: As last year, the people behind Euroblog are working with partners in each Europeran country and there still opportunities for people to act as country co-ordinators, organising a range of publicity activities to reach as many people as possible. This is particularly important in countries where professional associations are less well represented. If you would like to be involved in EuroBlog 2007, contact Philip Young of the University of Sunderland.
The Dutch TV production company Endemol has opened an office in Second Life. I think I already told you I was kind of a sceptical SL visitor, well: this makes me even more :-). Especially when I found out they are going to launch Big Brother there too...
That is right: the first project of Endemol in SL is a virtual and international version of Big Brother, starting 1 December. As from today, candidates can apply for the first virtual reality show ever. The winner gets a tropical island... in Second Life. If you're interested, you have to be willing to be online in the house for 8 hours a day. Every week, SL residents will be able to vote which three contestants have to leave the house, which is situated in SL on big Brother island (where else).
Visitors will be able to look into five transparant units, in which the candidates will be living. SL residents will be able to vote for their favourite contestant, listen to DJs, dance and meet new people. In the meantime, the contestants will be dealing with assignments, such as copy-constructing famous buildings which will then be auctioned. The profits are to go to a good cause. In the real world, thank goodness...
According to Endemol manager Paul Römer "online communities are becoming ever more important and this project is an exceptional chance to gather information about the virtual world, which is to make it possible to create such communities in the future."
I am curious to see how this turns out. But for the rest I am definitely not interested in being a candidate. I already have a life. A real one, that is... :-)
While I'm still getting round to sorting out my online backlog, the world hasn't stopped turning. Today, for example, is election day in the US of A. I had an interesting conversation about politics in the US with Kami Huyse while she was over in Belgium to visit her in-laws last week, but more about that later. For now, let me suffise in pointing you to this piece of promotional footage for Gorilla Political Marketing. Don't ask...