Saturday 3 p.m. ~ Productivity

I’m feeling a bit under the weather, so I’m staying home, keeping close to the computer, one eye on the Plinth, the other on Twitter. Being part of the Twitter discussion, following along with the plinth activity, adds an interesting layer to the event. Some of it’s interesting, some amusing, some informative, and only very rarely is it snarky.

Picture 11

As of this afternoon, I’ve contributed enough Twitter comments related to the plinth to rank me on the big board of most frequent #oneandother commenters. You can see it there on the screen shot I took of my laptop at 3 o’clock-ish. (There I am, #9!) A small, and some would say pathetic, achievement.

As a bonus, ’round about 3 p.m., I responded to a Tweet sent out by my web idol David Pogue (technology columnist for the NYTimes) whom I think has the greatest job and the best sense of humor in doing it. He liked it enough to re-Tweet it, so I consider this day a productive one, even though I’m not getting a damn thing done that I’d planned to.

Off the Grid

No blogging, emailing, Flickring, Twittering, Facebooking, photo processing, internetting or Plinthing for me this evening. (Yea gods!)  I’m severely sleep deprived and so shall resist all temptation to plug into the grid by reading a book (the old-fashioned kind, printed on paper) and going to bed early.

One & Other: Fourth Plinth Highlights From Week #1 (#oneandother)

The first week of live art on the plinth is history, fourteen more to go. Throughout the week and during many a late night when I should have been in bed (like right now) I’ve been watching the live feed for One & Other, streaming 24/7 from Trafalgar Square.

Here are my favorites from the first week. All past “performances” are archived on the One & Other website and you can follow any of the links to catch the rerun. (Though there’s nothing quite like watching it live.)

Amanda (Day 4) — Used her hour to construct a sculpture of Antony Gormley out of bread.

Mimiloo (Day 5)Donned wings and threw fairy cakes down to the crowd below. They were eating it up.

Dianne (Day 5) — I’ve never been a fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show but this woman had the largest crowd I’ve seen yet joining her in doing “The Time Warp.” Sound system, head mic, and much enthusiasm–an A for effort. A band of Friday night partiers dressed in sarapis and Mexican hats wandered in, reminding us all that for the next three months, the plinth will be ground zero for drunken revelry in London.

Sina (Day 7) — The first of three great hours in a row began with this woman garbed in a black drape that completely covered the plinth (like a dementor, some commented.) A striking visual made even more so as the sun went down on the square.

Quangocrat (Day 7) — Who knew doing your expense report for work could be so entertaining.

Battychess (Day 7)Chess as social history lesson. This guy, a kids’ chess coach, captivated the live and online audience with personable banter, chess instruction, and the history behind the game while he first played a grandmaster on the phone and then a member of the audience in the square. Great fun.

Totally Geeking Out on the Plinth

All day today, if I was near a computer, I had one window tuned in to the plinth channel. I was late to work today because I just peeked in for a minute and was sucked in by a woman building a statue out of bread.

I find this whole thing quite fascinating.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve now tuned my Twitter account to follow folks commenting on the live feed (#oneandother) which provides another fascinating and thoroughly addictive element to the mix.

What Would You Do On the Top of a Plinth in Trafalgar Square for an Hour?

So have you heard about One & Other, the performance art piece (created by Antony Gormley) going on in London where a single person spends one hour on top of a statue base doing whatever they want? Over the course of 100 days, 2400 Britons will have their 60 minutes in the limelight. They wear a mic and are broadcast live on the internet. Some read aloud, others speachify, or chat with folks on the ground, talk on their cell phone, play a musical instrument.

I have yet to see any of the daytime slots, so when I’ve checked in, “performances” have been fascinatingly dull. One woman read Dr. Suess through a bullhorn, a guy sat and read aloud from a Penquin classic, and another woman wrote messages on a wipe board that were totally unintelligible from the webcam. (Tip to future “plinthers,” don’t hold stuff up to the camera for us to read unless the font is really really huge.)

The web coverage (streaming live 24/7) is actually quite good; images are clear, the cameras provide multiple angles and seem to respond to what’s going on (as opposed to the usual webcam that’s static and fuzzy.) The audio (when it’s on) is clear. I just watched a woman narrate her experience on the plinth as the sun came up over London while she wrote 12 postcards to send to folks around the globe. Boring and charming at the same time.

I’m kind of surprised by the lack of performance in most of the segments I’ve tuned in on. Where you’d think people would devise a way to entertain or use their allotted time to make a statement, plead a cause or be discovered, instead they’re exposing themselves in one of the most public ways possible while carrying out utterly personal and intimate activities (reading, writing, talking on the phone.) The guy on now is holding up a blown-up photo of his dear departed dad and answering questions about him from people walking by. It’s a strange juxtaposition and interesting to see what people come up with, fulfilling the artist’s wildest dreams of “the democratization of art.”

Which leads me to this question: If you were one of the 2400 plinthers (randomly chosen from over 22,000 applicants), what would you do for your hour?

(photo by ericsnaps’ from the One and Other photo pool on Flickr.)

To Tweet or Not To Tweet

So, Twitter.

I’ve got a love-hate thing going on with Twitter. I like the concept and see the potential but right now it feels more like a time suck than a useful tool. I suspect this has to do with the folks I follow and those who follow me–and the pitifully small number of them that there are.

I stopped Twittering back in 2007 when my mobile phone plan changed and no longer included texting. Recently, I’ve gotten back into it and while I’m following a number of folks I actually know and others I “know” from their blogs or podcasts, it doesn’t feel as interactive or relevant as I’d hoped it would be. It probably doesn’t help that most people I know don’t Twitter.

Do you? I’d love to know what others think about it, how they use it, and how they find interesting feeds to follow. (Shameless plug for followers: If you’re so inclined, you can link to my account here. Follow me!)

And while I’m on the subject of hot social media, it seems everywhere I turn these days, I’m bumping into Facebook. Am I the only person not on Facebook? There are a number of reasons why I haven’t jumped on the Facebook bandwagon:

  1. Regular posting to my blog takes up enough of my time. The thought of generating content for another website holds no appeal.
  2. I understand that Facebook is the number one photo sharing site but I’m already invested in Flickr, so ditto above.
  3. The idea of reconnecting with friends from high school is repugnant to me. I hated that period of my life and have absolutely no desire to revisit it, even virtually.
  4. I really don’t care to know the minutia of others’ lives, which may sound odd since I’m participating in Twitter. The difference there is the brevity and instant nature of it. With Twitter there’s a benefit of being able to get headlines and local news in real time or shouting out to the Internet “Hey, I’m heading downtown and want to try a new restaurant. Suggestions?”
  5. It also bugs me that you can’t see what Facebook is really about
    without signing up for it (which I won’t do), so it’s hard for me to
    get a sense of what, if anything, I’m missing out on.
  6. Facebook sounds like another way to waste oodles of time on the Internet and believe me, I really don’t need another way to kill time bonding with my laptop.

T Minus 230 Days and Counting

IphoneFrom the first day the iPhone debuted, I’ve wanted one. Bad.

I love just about all things Mac and have for years. I’ve had an iPod since the days when they were the size and heft of a heavy bar of soap. I’m on my third generation. Love it. Can’t imagine life without it. And almost ten years ago, I had a Handspring Visor that I really dug and used all the time. It did about 1/100th of what the iPhone can do and I was crazy about it. Used it all the time. Kept lists and notes and reminders on it like crazy.

The iPhone is made for me. And it takes photos too! Just one thing stands between me and the iPhone–my stupid Sprint contract. And yes, I know there are creative ways to get out of a phone contract, but I don’t feel right about pretending that I’ve moved and my cell phone coverage doesn’t extend to the Mohave Desert. And my phone’s worth nuthin’, so I can’t sell my contract. Plus, I’ve got a great phone number and don’t want to give it up.

Besides, waiting nine months will give me time to save up for it. And like a kid waiting for Christmas, everything is better when you really look forward to it. Anticipation is half the fun.

So, the end is in sight. Come September 7th, I’ll be canceling my Sprint contract while standing in line to buy an iPhone. In the meantime, like Carly Simon said, an-ti-ci-pa-a-tion.