Today at work, our fabulous new administrative assistant sent Pauline the Giraffe riddle.
Pauline was absolutely gob-smacked.
“WHY HAS THIS GONE VIRAL?” She exclaimed.
Here’s what I think.
People like to belong, be in the know, that sort of thing. Also, who could possibly hate a giraffe? They are Ahhh-dore-able!
For those of you not familiar with the Giraffe Facebook Profile Picture Meme of 2013 (or GFPPM2013 as I like to call it) here is what I am talking about:
People shared a the following riddle either through private messages or on other people’s, or their own walls:
I’ve changed my profile to a giraffe. I tried to answer a riddle and got it wrong. Try the great giraffe challenge!
The deal is I give you a riddle. You get it right you get to keep your profile pic. You get it wrong and you change your profile pic to a Giraffe for the next 3 days. MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DONT GIVE OUT THE ANSWER.
It’s 3 a.m., the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors! It’s your parents and they are here for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?
A fair dinkum argument erupted between myself, and my generally agreeable business partner regarding the answer to this riddle.
I asserted the answer was “your eyes” because you’d have a hard time opening the door if you had your eyes shut. Pauline asserted that it was the door.
According to extensive Internet research on the matter, it seems we were both right, but the door seems to be considered the more popular answer.
So what is the magic formula that makes things go viral or fizzle completely?
Does anyone else remember a few years ago there was the single word bra colour posted in support of breast cancer awareness. There have been countless viral Facebook memes since that. Some have been cute, some have been interesting, some have been quite irritating.
This same week, there was the Russell Brand BBC interview with Paxman.
Great interview, and it has started a mini-revolution of sorts. While I don’t personally agree with his call to action to stop voting as a solution to the deep social and environmental problems that currently afflict humanity and our threaten our future, I do very much agree with this statement:
“Here’s what a political system should NOT do:
– It should not destroy the planet
– It should not create massive economic disparity
– It should not ignore the needs of the people”
So he’s up to around 2 million followers on facebook and there’s been about a million YouTube views of this interview in about 5 days if you add together the extended and edited versions.
There was also a major fail by the subversive anarchist group Anonymous, who seem to have a similar agenda to Brand, but lack the comic and pop culture appeal that he has apparently. The group asked for 1 million views in 24 hours, and when I checked it had made it to about 30,000 views and was of course taken down after 24 hours.
Had a nice brief little chat with a few friends on my husband’s wall about this. By the time a handful of them went to have a looky loo it had already been taken down.
Something else that went viral, and I quite enjoyed was the “No Woman No Drive” song. For those of you who do not know, women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from driving, and a small group of them recently defied these orders and posted pictures of themselves driving a car on social media. The conservative Islamic powers that be in that country are fighting the progressives who wish to extend the right to drive to women in the area.
Here’s the song:
As consummate social media junky and communication professionals, we too are often surprised about what goes viral and what does not these days.
So the advice we’d like to share with our friends, clients, and anyone reading this quickfire blog is this:
Take a punt! Be considerate, kind and thoughtful with your posts and content, but get it up there and share your thoughts and ideas online. Why? Cause you never know what’s going to go viral these days, and maybe the next big meme will come from you or your brand. So be protective and considerate about what you create, share, and champion online, but don’t be afraid to give it go.
I wrote and posted a similar article some weeks ago, and took it down due to terrible editing and poor structure.
I do hope this one goes better.
In honor of what I consider to be the strongest and most important force in the universe: Love, I have compiled a list of 8 late great couples whose relationships I personally find fascinating and inspiring.
I picked eight because it rhymes with late and great.
1) Charlie Chaplin and Oona Chaplin-O’Neil
Charlie Chaplin was a notorious womanizer and cad. He’d had quite a history of tragic love affairs, and had an extreme amount of trouble keeping it in his pants, fuelled in no small part by his penchant for drinking and wild parties.
He also quite liked younger women. And as he aged, his partiality for youth did not follow suit.
Oona O’Neil was a 17 years old when introduced to Chaplin by her agent Minna Wallace. Chaplin was, at the time, 34 years her senior. This made Oona very much his type. Chaplin’s immediate fondness for Oona meant he signed her to a movie contract, despite being worried that she was too young.
A relationship between the two blossomed quickly.
Chaplin and O’Neil eloped one month after her 18th Birthday.
The couple went on to have ALL THE CHILDREN! Here’s the list of all 8 of them:
They were also denied entry into the US during that super fun and useful “communist” and “subversives” witch-hunt referred to as the McArthyism.
The couple (particularly Charlie) were renowned for their “non-millionaire” lifestyle. Choosing to lead a rather humble existence, despite their wealth. Charlie being very sympathetic to the plight and struggle of the poor and advocating quite publicly for social equality and justice meant he was blacklisted as a communist and he and his family were not allowed entry to the US.
Oona relinquished her US citizenship and they kept a very low profile over in Europe for many years.
Despite his larger than life on screen characters, Charlie was a humble and private man, very well suited to a quiet family life.
Charlie died on Christmas day 1977.
Oona lived for several years after his death and hit the bottle fairly hard until her death due to pancreatic cancer in 1991.
Oona was a prolific diarist and wrote many letters. Sadly, she ordered all of her work destroyed.
2) Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
One of the most enduring and heart warming stories in history. Victoria had her sights on Albert and most sources even say that it was she who proposed to him.
Together they forged social, political, military, economic and technological initiatives that led Britain to its finest Empirical hour. During the Victorian Era, the sun never set on the British empire.
While I don’t condone the arrogance of the colonisation, nor the atrocities that took place at the hands of one society’s attempts to “civilize” countless other cultures and societies around the globe, I have a deep and warm respect and admiration for these two as a couple and as individuals.
The legacies in our culture that were introduced as a result of Victoria and Albert’s union are almost innumerable. From the tradition of trimming an evergreen tree as a Christmas tree, to wearing knickers, Victoria and Albert are responsible for so many things in so many colonial cultures that one would scarcely recognize a parallel universe that evolved without their union and reign.
Victoria bore Albert 9 children. Despite hating pregnancy (I can relate to that!) and childbirth, it seems Victoria’s sense of duty and attraction to her husband was such, that she embarked on the journey back to motherhood a substantial number of times.
Their 9 children, who were married out to nobility across Europe, have strengthened the Victorian legacy across the planet.
One of Victoria and Albert’s granddaughters even features on this list. The fateful, yet beautiful Love story of Alexandra and Nicholas of Russia also made our list, and of course, Alexandra was Victoria’s granddaughter.
Tragically, Albert fell sick while he was still relatively young.
Victoria kept vigil next to her husband tirelessly in his final days.
She was so distraught by his passing that she did not appear publicly for three years after his death. Victoria had Albert’s clothes laid out every single evening for the many decades she survived him.
3) Shah Jahan (Prince Khurram) and Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu Begum)
But of course the romance that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal is going to make it on this list.
Here’s some things you might not know about the couple, as I did not know them until I started researching this blog.
Mumutz Mahal (Ariumand Banu Begum) was the favourite (obviously) of three of Prince Khurram’s wives.
The two were promised to each other through an arranged marriage at the ages of 14 and 15.
Prince Shah Jahan was a staunch Muslim, unlike his predecessors (including Akbar the Great) who were much more liberal in their treatment of non-Muslims.
Mumtaz Mahal was born of a Persian royal lines and her family were loyal supporters of the Mughal empire which bore Shah Jahan.
She died at the age of 40, giving birth to their 14th child.
Obviously affected by the loss, the prince (who was already a great patron of Muslim arts, architecture and culture) busied himself with creating the Taj Mahal to pay homage to the Love of his life.
In summary, I just wanted to point out that the eight couples on this list range from atheist, to protestant, to extreme orthodox.
Great Love is not reserved for any particular religion or belief structure. Great and timeless Love is a force that both supports and surpasses all human interaction and understanding.
Just thought I’d bring that up.
4) Marie and Pierre Curie
Writing this blog I did not put these couples into any discernable order, but I must say, Marie and Pierre are probably the dearest to my heart.
The couple, who were introduced at a dinner party in the spring of 1894, talked about science, and politics and life and fell as madly in Love with each other as two highly intelligent humans have ever done before.
I had to take an entire large snippet from the book “Pierre Curie” pp. 72-77 to share with you. I’ve italicized it so you can skip over if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, but I have read it dozens of times, and it always makes me smile, and, of course more than a little sad:
I met Pierre Curie for the first time in the spring of the year 1894…. A Polish physicist whom I knew, and who was a great admirer of Pierre Curie, one day invited us together to spend the evening with himself and his wife.
As I entered the room, Pierre Curie was standing in the recess of a French window opening on a balcony. He seemed to me very young, though he was at that time thirty-five years old. I was struck by the open expression of his face and by the slight suggestion of detachment in his whole attitude. His speech, rather slow and deliberate, his simplicity, and his smile, at once grave and youthful, inspired confidence. We began a conversation which soon became friendly. It first concerned certain scientific matters about which I was very glad to be able to ask his opinion. Then we discussed certain social and humanitarian subjects which interested us both. There was, between his conceptions and mine, despite the difference between our native countries, a surprising kinship, no doubt attributable to a certain likeness in the moral atmosphere in which we were both raised by our families.
We met again at the Physics Society and in the laboratory. Then he asked if he might call upon me…. Pierre Curie came to see me, and showed a simple and sincere sympathy with my student life. Soon he caught the habit of speaking to me of his dream of an existence consecrated entirely to scientific research, and he asked me to share that life. It was not, however, easy for me to make such a decision, for it meant separation from my country and my family, and the renouncement of certain social projects that were dear to me. Having grown up in an atmosphere of patriotism kept alive by the oppression of Poland, I wished, like many other young people of my country, to contribute my effort toward the conservation of our national spirit….
During the year 1894 Pierre Curie wrote me letters that seem to me admirable in their form. No one of them was very long, for he had the habit of concise expression, but all were written in a spirit of sincerity and with an evident anxiety to make the one he desired as a companion know him as he was…. It is appropriate to quote here a few lines which express how he looked on the possibility of our marriage:
“We have promised each other (is it not true?) to have, the one for the other, at least a great affection. Provided that you do not change your mind! For there are no promises which hold; these are things that do not admit of compulsion. “It would, nevertheless, be a beautiful thing in which I hardly dare believe, to pass through life together hypnotized in our dreams: your dream for your country; our dream for humanity; our dream for science. Of all these dreams, I believe the last, alone, is legitimate. I mean to say by this that we are powerless to change the social order. Even if this were not true we should not know what to do…. From the point of view of science, on the contrary, we can pretend to accomplish something. The territory here is more solid and obvious, and however small it is, it is truly in our possession.”
One can understand, from this letter, that for Pierre Curie there was only one way of looking at the future. He had dedicated his life to his dream of science: he felt the need of a companion who could live his dream with him.
Seriously. How much do you Love these two? I just don’t even have the words. I am particularly drawn to her description:
“I was struck by the open expression of his face and by the slight suggestion of detachment in his whole attitude. His speech, rather slow and deliberate, his simplicity, and his smile, at once grave and youthful, inspired confidence.”
This could be easily be me describing my husband. There deep and dedicated Love and respect for one another inspires in me the thought that there is no Love quite like geek Love… Swoon.
Pierre, who was afflicted (as my own genius husband is) by a proclivity to act like you’d imagine an absent-minded professor to act. He was always thinking and prone to daydreaming.
One tragic day, on his way home to Marie, he was crossing the street and was fatally struck down by a horse and carriage carrying a heavy load of military uniforms.
Marie, upon hearing the news, was characteristically pragmatic and sensible. She made the arrangements for his funeral, and buried her one true Love.
Pierre was offered a fellowship at a university. Marie took this post in the absence of her husband, and went on to be the mother of modern X-ray technology as well as numerous other scientific and social contributions in her lifetime. The posting of a woman to such a prestigious role was very peculiar for the time indeed. Marie was a trail-blazer and heroin in so many ways, and her Love and dedication to Pierre is just one of the many wonderful and awe inspiring things about this petite polish chemist.
Please tune in next week for PART TWO of Eight Late Great Love Stories
I’ve always attributed the saying “know thyself” to either the Sophists or Socrates. A quick Wikipedia scan revealed that it was actually a thing that was bandied about much farther back, into the ancient Egyptian culture, and possibly even predating that.
Now, I was only ever a slightly above average philosophy student, with any or all of my success owing to my fondness for an intelligent and fair argument.
Seems the Greeks put a great deal of value on humility, temperance and the quest for truth and knowledge. To “Know Thyself” is to know that there is always going to be plenty that we don’t know. The more you learn the less you know type thing.
I want to take this rather complicated and loaded phrase and impiously give it the Dee treatment.
2013 has seen the Hobbit household the busiest in memory. Grumpy is back at work (sort of), and frequently locks himself into his lab for the whole night being the mad scientist I fell in Love with so many years ago. I’ve decided to start a wee communications company, as well as being involved in numerous pro-bono and charity campaigns. The older kids are both doing various curricular and extra-curricular activities, Adam is a an absolutely delightful 3-year-old hurricane… Let’s see… what else?
Grumpy knocked me up. Again. But you all already knew that.
Command and sanity while navigating this super fun minefield comes in no small part from the almost obsessive desire I have to understand my motivations, morality, goals, personality, and myself.
I know what I like, I know what I don’t like. I also know fairly accurately where I sit on political, spiritual, autistic, intellectual, personality and plenty of other spectrums.
So how do I fuel this tireless journey towards self-awareness and reflection? Where to do I turn to examine, test and muse on these deep and important matters?
Well, I turn to online personality profile tests and general time wasting quizzes. They are like CANDY to my self-obsessed brain. This pseudo psychology stuff has been a staple for me since my undergrad days. I enjoy personality profiling and understanding human motivation and behavior (mine as well as others’) so much I even flirted briefly with the idea of pursuing HR as a career path as so many comms graduates before me had done. Luckily fate and an unfortunate crossing of paths with one of the few human beings I can honestly say I simply cannot bring myself to like on any level led me well away from that idea indefinitely. Thank goodness. I am much better at PR and pursuing social and environmental sustainability personally and publicly. True story.
My Love of these quizzes and tests has not waned however.
Grumpy views these as trivially reductionist, and somewhat “insulting to the vast complexity that make up a person”.
So today, I’d like to share a few of my all time favourites and leave you with some links so you can have a look through and take some of the tests at your own discretion.
Arguably the most recognized and widely used personality typology used today is the Myers Briggs Typology Index (MBTI). A lot of you will already know it. MBTI asserts that there are 16 personality types based on 4 permutations of dominant personality characteristics:
1) Introverted or Extroverted (I or E)
2) iNtuitive or Sensing (N or S)
3) Thinking or Feeling (T or F)
4) Judging or Perceiving (J or S)
Dedicated followers of this typology assert that you can identify risk areas and improve your overall mental health and overall well-being by being aware of who you are and compensating for and correcting your weaknesses, while acknowledging and utilizing your strengths. They even go so far as to pontificate upon the importance of knowing that there are some personality typologies that just don’t “get” each other, and even goes so far as to offer advice on how to manage these personality precipices. Others that are destined to long and healthy relationships based on mutual understanding and compensatory and complimentary personality traits.
You can decide how far you want to take it.
I know that I am a fairly firm ENFP and my husband is an INFJ. Luckily, research seems to state that this is pretty much a match made in heaven, and for the most part we agree. I am the storm and he is the calm, I am the emotion and he is the reason. It works. And the differences between us seem to create fairly well adjusted little people (we hope).
Here’s the link if you want to find out what you are and what it means, and if you already know, feel free to have a refresher and see if it is the same or perhaps has changed as sometimes people do change. A lot of people who are teetering on the cusp between introversion and extroversion tend to become more introverted with age.
So go ahead, take ten minutes and do the test.
I’d LOVE to know some of your results. There’s also lots of cool information like fictional and historic figures with the same personality profile as you. Not sure how they got Napolean to fill out the test in order to figure out he was an ENTJ, but apparently they’re pretty sure he was.
The next test that I’d like to share with you is one that comes from the terrific team over there at Berkeley in California. This fabulous bunch of liberals put together a bunch of EQ studies and I’d like to share one of them with you.
For those of you not familiar with the concept of EQ, it is very similar to standardized testing attempting to assess and measure intellectual ability, only with EQ they are attempting to pinpoint a person’s emotional quotient rather than intellectual quotient.
Good I mistook pride for contempt, but other than that I got a fairly good score on this one. This could be owing to the fact I take so many of these online quizzes.
And if you liked the one that Berkley came up with, you will probably also like what the crew in the East over at Harvard put together. This EQ test is 37 questions long and uses only the eyes to give you clues as to the emotion being portrayed. You’ll be an emotional whiz kid if you can conquer this one.
Now that we’ve figured out our MBTI (Myers Briggs Typology Indicator) and had a wee jaunt around your emotional intelligence together, I’ll give you a short list of some super fun tests with little or no actual psychometric value whatsoever.
The youngest of my three sisters organized for a group of girls to go to see the musical Wicked tonight while it is playing for the short season in Auckland.
I feel I must quickly explain that none of the three sisters, nor my one kiwi brother are biologically related to me. I have only one biological sibling. He lives everywhere and nowhere and only occasionally in New Zealand and we don’t talk much. There are, however, two New Zealand families who jumped the gulf from friendship to become family nearly two decades ago now. They were host siblings in homes that kindly took me in when I was unceremoniously kicked out of my original accommodation.
Hope that makes at least a little bit of sense. Chances are you’ll be hearing about my New Zealand families quite a bit.
So tonight six incredible women, of all shapes and sizes set off to see this marvelous, charming, funny, inspiring and multi-layered masterpiece of musical theatre.
We had a quick bite to eat at Elliot Stables before heading to the theatre. Baby sister greeted me, looking absolutely radiant with her eyes shining the exact same shade of green as my 7 year old daughter’s eyes do when she is particularly happy. That fact blew my mind a little, considering they don’t actually share any genetic material.
Over dinner, I had the pleasure of sharing delightful conversation with afore-mentioned youngest sister’s best friend who really is a sweetheart on every level. She’s very tall, as apparently most of youngest sister’s best friends are. She shared a witty oration on the shortcomings of being a very tall girl. (That was me trying to by punny BTW.) I could not relate, but certainly empathized with the concept of being noticeably different, either physically or in general.
We then headed down to the theatre.
The production was amazing. I’ve seen it in London, Melbourne and New York and this rivaled (if not surpassed) them all.
It really is a fabulous story and a great way to spend a girls night. The story touches on the dangerous power of propaganda and lies, and scapegoating or profiling and laying blame on whole sections of humanity (or in the case of Wicked, animals) in times of strife.
It also very lightheartedly and effectively depicts the painful experience of running the gauntlet of post adolescence, and even life in general when you are in any way extraordinary. It cleverly and melodramatically illustrates the very different experiences of coming of age as immensely popular, or wretchedly unpopular.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I (and I’d assume most other nerdy girls) adore and relate to Elpheba. I have days when I feel like a wicked, despised and misunderstood witch (rather fittingly with the name) West, fighting a very lonely battle to stand up for what I think is right, chatting inanely, dodging and delivering insults, and getting plenty of people off-side on my journey through life.
I suppose I’ve also had plenty of friends like Glinda who have taken pity on my social awkwardness and even tried to shape me into someone, perhaps a little less strange and cringe inducing. People like this either relent and accept me as I am or put me firmly in the too hard basket. Elpheba didn’t fair quite so well sadly.
Just about everyone’s favourite Wicked number is “Defying Gravity” and rightly so. It is an AMAZING example of musical theatre perfection in delivery, arrangement and sentiment. This song very well could have one of the most powerful and emotive crescendo rich finales to ever grace the pages of theatrical history. It is also an anthem for people all over the world, fighting the good fight, defying the odds, and bravely going headlong into battle against whatever tyranny that plagues them (either real or imagined).
My favourite song, however is: For Good. I sing it to my son regularly. And I really do believe that people come into our lives for a reason.
For Good (just the audio… still worth a click… go on! You know you want to!)
Sadly, I did not make it to the second half of the performance that contains my personal favourite song. I had to rush out at halftime as I correctly feared that I couldn’t keep my all day baby induced sickness at bay any longer. I very nearly did not make it out of the theatre. I’ll assume the few passers by unfortunate enough to see me would have thought I’d had too much to drink. A very vulnerable and unpleasant experience and I shan’t be attending any more events that involve massive crowds (and subsequently huge queues for the ladies room) until the sickness fades.
I called Grumpy in the car to tell him that I was heading home early and why.
Rather unexpectedly, he told me that he and our 7- year-old daughter had been working out.
“Guess what Steph and I have been doing?” Said my beloved husband cheerfully.
“I have no idea” Said I.
“We’ve been working out.” Said he.
“What? Like on the Wii or something?”
“No, like I’m showing her how to use weights and the swiss ball and stuff. She said she wants to get rid of her belly.” Said husband in a disturbingly nonchalant tone. He then busted out with his very helpful nutritional advice to darling daughter; that she has to lay off white carbs and dairy and eat more lean protein and vegetables.
This is when she grabbed the phone to excitedly tell me about her evening.
“Guess what mum! I can do 3Kg now!” She said.
“Like 3 Kilo weights? Really, well, I guess that’s really good.” At this point I was beginning to get rather concerned about my daughters personal image.
She rattled on about wanting to cook chicken and meat to bring to school so that she could lose her big belly.
I rather unceremoniously told her not to worry about her tummy because she was absolutely perfect, and being a bit thick around the middle was genetic.
“Sweetheart, you’re built a little bit like a proverbial brick shithouse. You aren’t allowed to say shit ever remember. But baby, you are just made like me and your father. You are absolutely beautiful just as you are, and you are not fat. And you are 7 years old! You shouldn’t be worrying about having a bit of a belly. Did something happen?” I probed.
And the floodgates opened and the tears came down and she told me that her friend had told her that she has a big chubby tummy during their play-date earlier that day. Her friend is a sweet girl, with amazing parents, and I don’t think that this comment was meant to have the extreme effect that it did. I was absolutely floored by how deeply affected my daughter was by a peer’s offhanded comment. Devastated. She was absolutely devastated and willing to start a grueling diet and exercise regime at the tender age of 7 in attempt to gain a completely impossible and unattainable level of physical perfection.
I insisted she find her father and give him the phone so I could explain the situation to him and tell him to scoop her up in his arms and tell her she is perfect.
He did, and by the time I rushed through the door to comfort her she was already asleep. So the hysterics would have been in some part brought on by exhaustion, but it shook me up a bit none-the-less.
So. If you’ve taken the time to read this, I implore you to think long and hard about trying to curb any words that may be construed as wicked. I’m going to make a marked effort to do this today (and hopefully every day) as well. While my daughter doesn’t have the maturity or self control to disguise her hurt over a single and seemingly benign comment, the grown ups you deal with may not let you know that your words have hurt them – even if they do deeply.
I also think there’s value in trying to think really long and hard about the people we may assume are actually wicked. Because, sometimes, those who we think are villains in life are actually the heroes (and vice versa).
And last but not least, be aware of those coming into your life and the lessons that are there for you to learn. Good bad or indifferent. Keep your eyes open to whatever it is that they are there to teach you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I’m off to catch a plane to Christchurch and see some very cool young women who inspire me and make me laugh. (That’s you Courtney and Erin BTW). See you soon!