Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moving on

For a while I have been considering moving my blogs into a single location. It would also be nice to try something new - WordPress.

I am not certain if this means I will again commit the time to making my blog more than just a placeholder - we'll just have to see.

As I look forward I will also reflect what started this journey...

To write is to dream
To dream is to become more than you are.

Now to figure out how to import my post into their new homes...

To be continued!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Seeking perfection and falling short

In always seeking perfection with my writing I stop before completing what I am trying to express. A year passes and I have nothing I feel that I can share. Yet give me a deadline and within a few days (with help from friends) I write something as a gift - "Poppy".

My job does take up a lot of my time. At the end of the day I do find it hard to turn my 'work' brain off. Yet poetry is not something that comes second. It will always be part of expressing myself - my voice.

As another year draws to a close my resolution is - Share even what is not perfect. What I post may have a lot of rough edges: a work in progress. It will still be another piece of my view on the world - my dreams in writing.

P.S. Time to celebrate a little. Achievements today: posted a poem and applied 'haiku' label to all my poems that could be considered as such (19 posts).



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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random thoughts about NDF 2010

I'm attending the National Digital Forum for the third year and I still continue to feel inspired by this diverse group of professionals whose aim seems to be serving society. The thoughts captured via twitter at #NDF2010 is just a snapshot of the discussions being covered. Most of the sessions seem to delve into this sector in a positive way.

Trying to find a balance between professional, creative and personal I always worry that one will take over the other - no more - time to accept that what I am professionally impacts upon my creative processes. Sometimes that is to the detriment of my creative life, yet what I achieve professionally often stimulates me in similar ways.

NDF is a gathering that leaves me wanting to achieve such great and wondrous things. I know that I will come back down to earth soon, but I will try my best to enjoy this inspirational ride.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meeting my goals as a Poet through Toastmasters

I have posted before about Toastmasters - Finding poetry in Toastmasters and tonight I had the opportunity to do a reading. The idea of getting up in front of my club and reading my poetry is becoming easier. So I am continuing to meet my personal goal of working towards reading my poetry out to a room full of strangers :-)

Toastmasters is changing me because it is teaching me skills and it makes me feel much more confident about myself. This is not just with my speaking but also my ability to be a leader. I was 'tapped' on the shoulder to become the Vice President of Education for our club. Like my decision to join Toastmasters this is also a decision I am happy I made.

Toastmasters is helping me to find my voice. I am learning how to be much clearer and concise in what I want to say. Through Toastmasters and other things I have become involved in, I am beginning to truly value how important poetry is in order to express 'my voice'. This does not always show in both of my blogs. As I realise that time is rushing by and my posts are not growing enough. What I now understand is that my blogs were never about being discovered. My blogs and my poetry are like Toastmasters - they are all a way to voice and most importantly grow.


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Sunday, April 25, 2010

ANZAC Day

Today is ANZAC day, April 25th. This day is for Australians and New Zealanders to remember those who have died in war. ANZAC day is acknowledging that sometimes war occurs in order to protect something worth dying for. This day is not about glorifying war.

I feel that this day is not just about those who did not return from war, for those who did return were forever changed. When I was a child it was my Great-Grandfather Da who took me fishing and gave me one of my first jobs sweeping floors. Da was in the British Navy and survived World War II. Yet even towards the end of his life the impact of war still lingered. Often I remember him and think about the impact war had on him and many of our family. In trying to understand my thoughts drifted across the fields of the many battles that have occurred in the last 100 years.
From this the poem Red Tears came into being.


On this day I remember Da and those like him who survived, but have had to learn to live with all that they faced in war.





Da is the one of
the far right of
this picture.











Creative Commons License
Anzac Day by Allison Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Australia License.
Based on a work at allisonbrown.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finding poetry in Toastmasters

I became involved in Toastmasters over a year ago for a variety of reasons. If you have no idea what Toastmasters is then go and read about Toastmasters NZ. It has only been in recent weeks that I admitted to someone aloud that one of my main motivations for going to Toastmasters is to build towards going to a poetry reading so I can read one of my poems out. I feel that I still have a way to go before I am ready to this meet goal even though I have already read out some of my poems to other members of my club. Also, by posting this goal here I am documenting what I am working towards as a poet.

I do not fear of public speaking and speaking my mind in front of a group of people has never been a major problem. Yet I have found that I have gained so much from being a toastmaster, which was not what I expected.

  • Running a meeting;
  • Providing constructive feedback that allows someone else to know where they are doing well and where they still can grow;
  • Being asked something on the spot and having the skills to respond in a structured and confident way
  • Sounding more confident when I speak because I'm now aware what can make you sound less assured. Such as saying "Ums and Ahs" rather than pausing and taking a deep breath before continuing.
Last night at Toastmasters (13 April 2010) I was the Toastmaster for the evening and the theme I selected for the session was "Thinking outside the book". I selected this theme because I wanted to share with the rest of my club what working as a Librarian is like when your job is far from traditional. When I created the program adding my poem The Idealised Librarian seemed to make perfect sense, because after 10 years this poem still helps explain why I am a Librarian. What was fascinating about adding this poem was the reaction by someone else there - "Did you write this?" and the expression on their face :-). Being able to blend my poetry into the different roles in Toastmasters makes what I do there unique. The opportunity to express myself through my poetry in such a warm and friendly environment has helped me feel that my main goal is achievable.


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Friday, April 9, 2010

Feedburner and twitter working together

At the beginning of 2009 I added FeedBurner to my blogs. Since it was taken over by Google it has simply become another way to monitor access to my blogs via the RSS feeds in the same way I use Google Analytics.

Last night when I was checking FeedBurner I noticed a post titled: "Socializing your feed with Twitter" - http://adsenseforfeeds.blogspot.com/2009/12/socializing-your-feed-with-twitter.html. If you use FeedBurner and twitter this is worth checking out.

I noticed this post because I was looking for an easy way to have blog posts from the Hocken Collections blog tweeted via the Otago Library twitter account - @OtagoLibrary. I will post about how it goes :-)

Update 1: It worked for this post :-D -- Cool thing is that I can add hashtags to all these tweets or even use the tags I add to a post...

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Goals for now

I started both of my blogs so I would have a way to focus my writing. The big goal was to be published, which goes towards the overall goal of being recognised as a poet. I feel I am starting to see all of this a bit more realistically. Not matter what happens I will always write poetry. It is how I express myself. Anyone who knows me will tell you expressing myself seems to come easily to me - well to a certain degree yes it does. Yet there are some things where there is not quick explanation, but somehow even in my darker moments the words I do find seem to give the appearance of poetry.

The point of this post - just in case it is not very clear yet. I now accept that yes it is nice to be published, but this should never be the reason one writes. I love the fact that 2 of my poems Winters Sonnet 2.0 and Red Tears were published in the first issue of the Teesside Artists' Journal. Yet writing each of those poems had nothing to do with whether I would be able to find a place to have them published.

Also, whether anyone cares to read this post is up to them. This post and this moment is about accepting why I write and why I bother to share what I write. There will also be moments that my life doesn't allow for much time to write poetry, but this does not mean this is far from my thoughts.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Creative Commons - how not to use CC

I now know first hand the most annoying thing someone who has used a Creative Commons license can do is to think they can change the type of license they have already applied.

Over 6 months ago I wrote a poem for a friend. At first I was just playing around with adding it to a photo to see how it could enhance the poem. The first image I picked looked great, even though I was not supposed to remix it due to the CC that had been applied. I therefore found a second image that I could remix and it actually turned out quite lovely. In the last week I decided to post that poem to my blog. However, when I looked up the photograph on flickr it seemed that photographer had changed their CC licence for all their photos to all rights reserved - WTF...

Maybe the most constructive thing would have been to message them and find out why they had made the change. I might have even been able to explain to them that such changes make life difficult for others and come to an agreement. Instead I searched and found a new image with the most open CC license available - Attribution only. To celebrate finding an image that is along the lines of the poem I have also applied the same license, even though I am not required to.

Check out the remix of the poem and photo here. However, I am not sure if this is exactly how I want it - so I may remix this again...

Lesson is - if you apply a CC license that lets others remix your work, it is not only rude to change that license, it also goes against the idea of CC. Once you have applied a license you cannot change it, so pick a license carefully!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Connecting Flickr with my blogs


Leaf1
Originally uploaded by behind.dreaming
I wanted to start posting more of what I have called 'poetry in pictures' to my blog and have only just discovered that I can connect my Flickr account to my blog.

Wow - the things that can happen when you hit the 'blog this' option in Flickr :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Making use of Google Docs for my poetry

I have found myself recently using Google Documents to work on some of my poems. I thought is was worth sharing some of the advantages and limitations that I have experienced with using Google Docs for creative writing.

The main reason I started using Google Docs was because my 'editor' (ok my friend that also gives great honest and constructive feedback) set up a document for a poem he wanted to give me feedback for. Before this point I saw no reason to set up 'another' Google product. Now I have used it for a range of poems I will keep using it, but I am aware that is does have its limitations. I think I might keep adding to this post as new Advantages, Limitations and corrections come to mind.

Advantages -

  • It is easy to create an account in Google Docs, especially if you already have a Google account.
  • It is very easy to add people to either just view or be able to edit a document by simply emailing them an invite. Though I am not sure yet about the experience for those who are invited but do not actually have a Google account.
  • You can easily rename a document, which is handy because Google Docs will default to whatever words are at the top of a new document.
  • It keeps the documents sorted by the date that they were more recently updated.
  • Once you know where to look it does have a line that you can add to break the document up into parts. With my poems I mainly use this in order to keep older version(s) or comments compartmentalised.
  • You are now able to create and share folders that your documents are contained within (though I have not started to play with this yet).
  • I am able to get feedback from anyone in the world in a relatively secure way and therefore do not have to post in a more public forum in order to get feedback. This is an advantage as I may decide to publish a particular poem.

Limitations -
  • I would not use this as my primary way to backup my poetry or rely on it as a way to access from anywhere in the world. This is based on my experience of trying to submit poems for publication (last minute); being at someone else's home who only had dial up; and dealing with the lack of formatting that Google Docs provides even between Google Products. I was unable to login to my account due to the access issues. Though I have to admit this was an extreme example
  • It is difficult to transfer more than the text and keep formatting you may have applied. With a basic poem this does not matter but once a poem requires a particular structure then Google Docs is the worst place to keep the poem beyond editing the text.
  • I have always kept my account for my blog separate from my main Google Account, which in this regard makes it a bit messy when I want to post a poem I have been working on to my blog. I have dealt with this by starting to share a Google Doc with my other account at an appropriate point.
  • It is easy to email someone so they can access your document, but they may simply respond to the email with comments rather than adding them to the document. Though using the tried and true method of cut and paste solves this ;-).

Advice -
  • Keep you writing in multiple locations [I think it is time for me to backup my computer again].
  • I often email myself a copy between my different accounts (not just Google accounts), which helps with access and knowing that it is elsewhere just in case.
  • Google Docs is simply another location that you can keep your poems just in case something goes wrong with your personal computer that also allows you to share it with others.
  • Try to indicate through how you name, date or label your writing the version a piece is. As it can be difficult 12 months later to try and figure out which one is the latest version. [I am currently wearing my Librarian hat].
Lastly, Google Docs is simply a tool that I have found to meet certain needs at this point in time. If you find yourself trying to deal with a particular issue when it comes to your writing there is probably a tool out there for you.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

Life has a funny way of rushing by

I just realised that I have not posted on Behind Dreaming since July. Life does have a funny way of seeming to drag while you are in the moment but then you realise months have gone past. With this year coming towards its conclusion it is time for a little bit of reflection.

Since July I have found so many things that inspire me. I am starting to pay attention to other poets more than I have before. This has made me realise that being a poet is not simply something that would be nice, it is who I am.

This week I spent some time putting together a Haiku for a unique challenge. I needed to write a Haiku which explores the Spirit of Open Access. For many poets out there the fact that they listed the structure as 17 syllables (5,7,5) would mean it was not a Haiku. However, this was not the point and it was an interesting challenge. This is another example of where I find inspiration for my poetry from my job. I ended up writing 4 Haiku and I have just realised I probably should have applied Creative Commons to them. Oh well, I am sure I can sort that out if any of them get selected.

Between my job, the paper I have been doing recently and also trying to put together a body of work that I can submit for publication - Behind Dreaming has been neglected. I constantly think about what I should post here, but get caught up with trying to find the perfect, informative thing to post. I think it is time to get over it ;-).

So as this year comes to an end I can not help ask - where to from here? I do not really know and in some ways that is both scary and exciting.

For me I think this year can be explained by both A Bottle of Happiness and Reconnecting :)


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why do I write poetry? Q&A

I have been chatting with a friend Ian about keeping a blog and what he could do with his photography. You can check out Ian's photography blog or Flickr photostream. I love Ian's photos as I often find myself seeing the world through Ian's lens in a way I would never had imagined.

Ian emailed me on Sunday a range of questions that can be summed up as - Why do I write poetry? Here is my response to those questions (with only a little editing to make sure it actually makes sense):

  • Inspiration. How do you come up with ideas?
Sometimes words simply pop into my head and they will not go away. Other times I see something, an event or what the sky looks like today and I want to express that experience.

  • Construction. How do you go about getting your ideas down? How do you get from there's-this-idea-in-my-head to ah-what-a-nice-finished-poem?
It is easier when the words that come to me are in some sort of sequence and I go from there. But sometimes it takes a bit more work. I often know if those random words I jot down are worth working on further. I try to create the shell and then decide again if I want to do more work. Then it is a process of polishing and chipping away. The longest I have ever worked on a poem is over a couple of months but that was about a particular event that was difficult to write about because I was telling the story of other people I know. Though there have been a couple of times that I have found the draft of a poem I wrote years ago and came back to it.

  • Editing. Do you edit as you go? Do you write in one go, then edit after?
Most of the time I try to get my thoughts down in one go but sometimes things stick out as I type them up. I have scraps of paper all over the place with bits of poems that will never been complete and others that were the 1st draft. Yet now I find it useful to type things up directly when they come to me. I have even resorted to typing them in my phone as a text.

  • Style. How do you feel about formal styles of poetry - haiku (whatever it is), limerick, sonnet, pentameter etc, blank verse, ..? (Have you tried them all?)
I like experimenting with particular styles, to see how far I can go and to challenge myself. However more often I just write what comes to me and the poem tells me how it should be structured. I know that I need to teach myself more styles so I can simply write a poem that ends up being a particular style. Oh and limericks are evil and for some reason I find them impossible to write. I have only successfully done so once and that was when I wrote something about the work I do as a gift to a colleague.

  • Why do you write poetry anyway? Aren't there enough starving poets in the world already? (Not intended to be provocative. I'm sure you have a serious answer to this.)
Have you ever read the blurb on my blog? That sums up why I write poetry ;-).
I do not expect to make a living out of poetry but I would love to be recognised as a poet in the same way I am a librarian and you are a teacher. I have thoughts constantly rushing through my head and quite often those thoughts are abstract and hard to explain. Poetry allows me to take what is in my head and create something that is no longer part of me. It is hard to explain but I often find myself wondering how I came up with a poem. Recently I have actually asked myself "where did that come from and did I really write that". I can not actually memorise my poems as I often feel like they are separate entities. What I enjoy most are other people's reaction to a poem and what they read from it. It makes me look at one of my poems with new eyes.

Now I am putting the challenge to Ian to answer similar questions in regards to - Why do you take photographs Ian? I have pasted slightly edited questions to better suite taking photos rather than writing poetry. I think these are the sort of questions that anyone who has creative pursuits may find worth answering themselves. I especially think Graeme should also answer these questions as well in regards to the photos he takes (be careful what you say :D)

  • Inspiration. What inspires you to take you camera out to take a shot?
  • Construction. How do you go about composing a photo as you take it? How do you get from there's-this-idea-in-my-head to ah-what-a-nice-finished-photo?
  • Editing. Do you edit as you go with digital images? Do you take a lot of photos, then edit after?
  • Style. How do you feel about particular styles of photographs - black and white, portraits, abstract (Have you tried them all?) {ok trying to sound clever and come up with some eg with little success}
  • Why do you take photos anyway? Aren't there enough starving photographers in the world already? (This is intended to be provocative ;-). I'm sure you will have a serious answer to this.)
  • Is there a photo you have seen that someone else has taken that has inspired you and how you take photographs?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Looking at the world through different lenses

Today I attended my first lecture so I can learn Te Reo Māori - The Māori language.

It is really not enough to simply say that Te Reo Māori is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand. New Zealand is made up of two islands and within each island there are different groups or tribes and then within those groups... Well I think if you do not know anything about New Zealand then you should find out. And maybe I should become more comfortable writing about it as well :-)

The paper or subject that I am doing is called Introduction to Conversational Māori. In the next couple of months I hope to introduce who I am and talk about myself in te reo Māori. Thinking about this has made me realise I have not really talked much about myself beyond my writing. What I write is heavily influences by who I am. The resources that I think are worth sharing are things that I have encountered because of what I do in my life. Therefore...

Hello, my name in Allison Brown. I am Australian and was born in a suburb in Melbourne, Australia. I moved to the state of Queensland when I was 3 years old and grew up in the area known as the Sunshine Coast. My mother's name is Cherry and my father's name was Ian. I have known all my grandparents and my mother's parents are still a part of my life. I also knew two of my great grandparents on my mother's side, one of which was born in England.

My ancestors began arriving in Australia as officers on the First Fleet. One of those ancestors John Shortland (1769-1810) spent a lot of his life in Australia but spent his last years back in England. My connection to New Zealand goes as far back as the nephews of John Shortland, Willoughby (1804–1869) and Edward (1812–1893), who played significant roles within New Zealand.

Even though I have ancestors from places like England and Scotland, I only feel a connection to Australia as I think most of my ancestoring is too far back to truly matter. The way I try to express this connection is through my poetry, especially in how I view the world.

I will post my introduction in te reo Māori towards the end of Semester so wish me luck. To make sure it is accurate I will ask a friend who is fluent to check :-)


Note (03-04-2010)
I successfully finished this paper but my goals from this well... Reality has well and truly set in and I accept not that this is beyond my abilities. I am also not sure that this is something I should do.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twittery: the poetic narrative of twitter

Twittery is a tweet (or post) that contains a poem

I have been thinking about my post Twittery: volume 1 and how most of the comments left seemed to indicate that it was a single stand alone poem. While I know that it is dot pointed to indicate each unique poem that I have tweeted through my twittter account @ally_cat I now realise that it gives the impression of a single poem. I probably added to that impression by picking an order that I listed the tweets in based on what looked best.

However, it was not until I heard Andrew Long speak about a twitter narrative that I realised that even though I tweeted each poem at different times my twittery may be seen as a poetic conversation I via twitter. Although the order I listed is not the actual order I tweeted each poem, as a writer I have a style. As a poet I write with a particular voice. When you consider the sample came from a particular period the style would of course lend itself to been seen as a single poem.

I have found twitter an extraordinary way to express myself. Occasionally it can just be to jot down a piece that is incomplete, but mostly it is to express a moment in a unique one off piece. The impact others who write (what I have coined) twittery has on me is something I have never experienced before. Yet I have never sought to duplicate a style of poetry beyond endeavouring to expand my ability to write poetry. Twitter has allowed me to create a poetry narrative that is random and yet it is still my voice. Through twitter I can follow the narrative of other poets, artists and others that have something I wish to hear.

Do I think that all poets should try twitter, no. Is it a way to get others to read your poetry, no. Though both these things can happen on a small scale. For me it is a way to capture a moment. Short pieces that are only worth sharing if someone can read a single tweet and that may be all they ever read. Twittery is the challenge to fit a complete single poem into 140 characters that also includes tags like #poem. I walk to work and the sun lights the sky in a way the leaves me breathless or the clouds look like a patchwork quilt. Now fit that within a 140 characters.

One of the tools I use the most along with twitter is twitter magnets. This is a way for me to unwind and I can easily spend 30 minutes composing a single tweet. Pick words and then refresh, pick more and add them, refresh, pick new ones and reject some of the old and then refresh. All the time I am doing this the music plays in the background and from this I create poem that I then tweet and share - @twittermagnets.

Some tags I have found useful to follow and add to my tweets are: #poem; #haiku; #sixwords

Some wonderful poets or groups that I love to follow are: @poetachica; @magnusholmgren; @handfulofstones; @twihaiku

The narrative that I am tweeting is random and is scattered amongst other thoughts about my life, my interests, my work, and other things that I encounter. Yet amongst the randomness I found gems that I want to highlight and I will continue to do so at different times through my blog of poetry.

See the twittery amongst the tweets, my voice, the narrative of a poet...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Orphan works

  • Have you ever heard of the term Orphan Works?
  • Are you a creator of works? This can be as a writer of a novel, play, poem, blog post; painter; graphic or game designer --> and the list can go on and on?
  • Do you realise just how many works exist where the creator was never been identified?
  • Or even if the name of a creator is known, no one knows what happened to the creator and therefore they can not be contacted about their work?
I am asking these questions because even though I have known for a number of years what an Orphan Work is and the problems it creates for institutions like Libraries I recently discovered I have an Orphan Work.

The simple answer to the 1st question is that an Orphan Work is a copyright work where it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder (reference). I will let you follow the reference to read more about Orphan Works.

How did I as a creator find myself in this situation? In 2000, as part of a portfolio assignment, while I was studying, I decided to try and publish a library related poem to the Australian Library Journal. I was accepted for publication but then never heard anything further. This is when I did something I now regret: I did not keep checking myself for when it did appear in the Journal.

In the last couple of months I have been going through my older poetry which made me think of how this poem was worth posting to my blog. I therefore wanted to double check that this poem was never published. I checked this because I was not sure what this journal's stand is on the copyright ownership of contributors, as this is an academic journal. Doing a quick search of the online version I discovered much to my shock that it had not only been published but the editor at the time, John Levett, had lost my name. My poem has therefore been published as author unknown. Though much to Mr Levett's credit he did leave a statement asking for the author to contact him. This poem is The Idealised Librarian which I have now posted to my blog of poetry.

It is that easy to have a work you have created become an Orphan Work! Understanding what Orphan Works are and what is currently happening with Copyright, are 2 of the main drivers for me to use Creative Commons. So to discover that I myself have an Orphan Work makes me realise how careful I need to be. I hope that this is also a warning about how easy it is to lose track of what you have created.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bloglove

I found the post Bloglove on my wonderful friend Laetitia's blog and I wanted to share this with others as well.

--------------------
If I love you I will link to you.

If you link to me, I will feel loved.


Go on. Share some love.
-------------------

Of course, Laetitia's link's are different from mine and I am sure you can keep following all the Bloglove being shared. Check out her blog to see to whom she has linked.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cooliris: pictures upon a wall

The Cooliris plugin is a web browser plugin made by Cooliris that provides interactive full-screen slideshows of online images (wikipedia). The instructions for how to install Cooliris in Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari is located via cooliris support. If you find yourself enjoying using cooliris as much as I am then you can also follow the cooliris blog. Once you have installed cooliris you are able to search things like Flickr and Google Images.

Searching images through cooliris is fantastic in that the images you find can be displayed on a wall. Cooliris then makes it easy to scroll across many images, focus on a particular image, bookmark your favourites and jump out to the site the image is located on. I had seen cooliris demonstrated at a conference last year. However, it was only when a colleague dropped the URL on my desk and said try this did I give it a go. They gave no explanation beyond that and I think you will only truly understand what cooliris is if you yourself give it a go.

While looking at cooliris the first time another colleague asked me what I was looking at. I showed them and then asked if there was something they wanted to search. They suggested trying to find a photo of the All Saints Church in Dunedin - so I put in the terms Saints and Dunedin. Then the most wonderful thing occurred: the first result was of them in the church, which had been taken by the local newspaper. They were thrilled :-)

This in itself is a wonderful way to find images yet it gets better.
The power of cooliris comes into play when you discover sites that have enabled cooliris - how to enable your site. As already mentioned Flickr, Google and Facebook have enabled cooliris.

Now to start my blogroll to show you why I love cooliris so much.

One of my favourite blogs is Secret Agent Mama: shooting from the hip. The photography is breathtaking and there is sprinkling of poetry throughout, which as a poet I love. Now go to the photostream in flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/secretagentmama and activate cooliris. I have to admit it took me a bit of playing to figure out how to look at a site like this in cooliris. At first I tried searching in cooliris itself with "secretagentmama" but I kept picking up other images as well.

I have discovered that any blogs on blogspot also seems to let you activate cooliris.
For me this means I can see a wall of amazing doodles that Beck posts on her blog BeckaDoodles. And then for a change I can view a wall of gorgeous vintage postcards from Cpaphil Vintage Postcards.

If you love history then you will really like the last example I will give you, which is via the National Library of New Zealand in the Manuscripts and Pictorial Collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library digitised collection. Once you arrive at the site search for something like "shortland" and activate cooliris. Though I have noticed you might have to refresh once or dig a little before cooliris realises it should be working. Dr Edward Shortland was the nephew of one of my ancestors and to see his letters like this is fantastic.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Finding time

I finally found some time tonight to delve into the blogs I am currently following. I have family staying right now so I go through the guilt of ignoring them so I can instead spend time getting lost online. I will try to post while they are here and I guess this will be a test of how much of blogger I have become.

I have set up a couple of things within my blogs like my twitter @ally_cat feed. I have also set up a basic Flickr account and from this I have added a poetry slideshow feed into my blog of writing that contains images I created with poems contained within. I loved creating those images and I think it is time I create some new ones, as I have found they make a great screen saver at work: they are my personal signature.

I loved changing the template to this blog and everytime I look at it I feel the warmth of the colours. Thank you again Graeme for letting me use one of your images which fit perfectly to the colours I had already picked out :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A new look & plans for the coming week

After playing with the layout for a bit I think I have gotten Behind Dreaming to where I want it to be: at least for now. This means having the same template as To Write is to Dream but I have altered the colours to suit my current mood. Like my moods I may look at this next week and want to make more changes.

My next challenge is to figure out how to refer to the online petition organized by the Creative Freedom Foundation on Monday morning. In New Zealand on February 28 a new copyright amendment to the Act is coming into force - Section 92a. Even though someone will be given 3 warnings about downloading content that is copyright protected: the kicker is really that that a person can have the internet access cut without the sort of evidence a court would require. Welcome to the age of Guilty until proven Innocent and the innocent part - well it does not seem very clear how you can prove your innocence.

Creative Freedom Foundation has some fantastic information on their site about what is happening in New Zealand. If you are not from New Zealand this does not mean it has no connection to you as there are other countries like Australia that are facing similar laws. You can bury your head and think it will not happen to you but never say never and try to remain informed just in case.

My profile picture here, in twitter and on Facebook have been blackout as a form of protest. Many others have done the same, including Stephen Fry in twitter.

On Monday there are many sites will refer people to the online petition organized by the Creative Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wordle view of Behind Dreaming


Wordle is a wonderful way to view delicious tags.

Wordle: Colours of Dreams

These are a few ways to see the delicous tags for Behind Dreaming.


Wordle: Dreams in Blue


Wordle: B&W dreams


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Looking back

I have started looking through poems that I wrote over the last 3 years or so. It is an interesting thing to do, as it allows you to look at a piece with fresh eyes. I think the most interesting part of looking back is that you get to decide if something is worth working on further to enhance your thinking a couple of years down the track. Or instead I have found, with some pieces, I scratch my head and wonder: what was I thinking.

One of the pieces I just posted that falls under a "re-discovered poem" is Faceting a Friend and next is Roller Coaster Ride. There are other pieces on my list, but they need more work before I put them up.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Planning changes to my blog

I have run into a couple of problems with the template of Behind Dreaming and this has made me think about whether I should make some changes. I realised that the date I posted was not listing and now I have fixed that. While I was finding the code for this I also discovered that those looking at this blog through Internet Explorer have been having the right-hand sidebar pushed below the main body of the blog. I have now fixed this.

By playing with this template I have realised it seems to take too long to load. So I am now thinking about matching the template of Behind Dreaming to my blog of poetry To Write is to Dream... This does not mean they will look exactly alike but I love the floating template of my blog of poetry. What will probably be different will be the colour theme and background image. So I guess this is a "watch this space" sort of post.

The other things I want to change in both blogs is to make it clearer that the current Search Box is to search only each blog. I am also aiming to add a Google Search Widget so those who come across my blog can then keep moving along: though I would still prefer you to all stick around :-). I am hoping by posting these plans that it will motivate me or more even get my editor to have a reason to remind me that I posted these plans.

I have tried to avoid adding advertising though I am aware that especially in IE a pop-up add started appearing a few months back, maybe longer. Maybe I should start thinking a bit about advertising as well, though I will not rush into this.

The other long term plan is to add more to the connected delicious account and add a greater range of labels to different sorts of writing blogs. You can only have so many that only have poetry/poet and blog. Once I have enhanced these bookmarks I am thinking that I should make them easier to access on this blog. I would love if some of the writers of the blogs I may have bookmarked could give me some ideas of labels so others can find there blogs this way as well. If you also have a delicious account that is writing related please let me know so I can add it to my network. I have actually created this delicious account for this reason and have other accounts for personal and work bookmarks.

Finally I have recently added Feedburner to both my blogs but I am aware that it has been having problems lately.

Creative Commons: answers to my ?s

I was just at the ALIA Information Online conference 2009 and I took the opportunity to seek answers to some of my questions I have about Creative Commons (CC). One of the speakers was Jessica Coates who is the Project Manager of Creative Commons Australia. Jessica was at IO2009 to talk about preserving digital objects, when the act of preservation may run into conflict with copyright, but I will not go into that in this post even though it was fascinating and Jessica did a fantastic job.

I spoke to Jessica about CC after her presentation. Now I want to place a "I may have heard this wrong" statement at this point. Please feel free to correct me if I get it wrong :)

Some of the questions I asked about CC are:

  • Q: I now live in New Zealand but I am Australian so I have been using a Australian Creative Commons license. Was this the right thing to do?
  • A: Pick the jurisdiction that you would want to take legal action in if someone else happened to ignore the CC license you have selected.
  • For me that would be Australia
  • Q: I have run into problems with my blog of poetry in that I want to mostly apply a CC BY-NC-SA license to most of my posts but there are a few poems I posted that I selected the option BY-ND. What should I do in this situation and will one licence make the other void?
  • A: Place a statement on my blog along the lines that 'Most content falls under a BY-NC-SA unless otherwise stated on a post'.
  • I intend to do this as soon as I get my act together :-)
  • Q: I have made the choice of Non-Commercial (NC) for my blogs under CC. My thinking behind selecting NC was so that you the reader can copy, save, share, and remix (unless otherwise stated) most of my content but you can not then go and make money from it. Does this now mean I can not make money from what I have put under NC myself?
  • A: I can make money but others can not
These questions have been on my mind for months and I have even posted about it in the past. It was great to finally have some answers and also some ideas of how to proceed from here. Thank you Jessica :-D

The other thing I have learned about CC from experience is that if you choose to use CC on your blog, especially if you are also feeding your posts to other places, it pays to place CC on each of the posts. This means that what others can do with the content always goes with the post and/or they then do not have to scroll to the bottom to realise that as a reader they have certain rights. I realise I have not been doing this with Behind Dreaming and maybe I should.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rain

I moved to the New Zealand South Island almost a year ago. From the moment I arrived in Dunedin I felt at home. This city, though many would consider it too small to be called that, makes a creator feel like they can simply be themselves. The richness of the creative culture within Dunedin can be clearly seen by how it supports is writers.

In October 2008 there were celebrations held for the 50th Anniversary of the Robert Burns Fellowship. I was lucky enough to be able to attend many of the sessions that different Burns Fellows spoke at: poets, novelists, playwrights, ... so much talent in one room. Not being from New Zealand meant that this was my introduction to some wonderful New Zealand writers.

One of the sessions was to remember those Fellows who had died. It was in this session that I first heard a poem that let my imagination take flight. The poem was Rain and its creator is Hone Tuwhare. This post seems an inadequate way to share the poem Rain with you so I will end this post with a recommendation. Click on the link Rain and then find a someone else to read the poem to you, so you can close your eyes. I hope like I did that you will then hear, smell, feel and see the rain.

 
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Behind Dreaming by Allison Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
Based on a work at allisonbrown.blogspot.com
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