Monday, March 23, 2009

date stamp: 2 p.m. gmt, march 21, 2009

Spring. For those of us blogging in the Western Hemisphere, finding signs of spring was the central theme for this date stamp.

It wasn't always easy.

Date stampers in the United Kingdom seemed to have the best luck capturing photos and impressions of warm weather and welcoming flowers and (off)spring bouncing on trampolines and celebrating Mother's Day. One lucky Londoner chased spring to a little-known harbor in Morocco, where her efforts were rewarded in the most refreshing way.

West of them, spring received a chillier reception, where frost greeted the morning in New York, and a good, strong cup of coffee was the order of the day in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Up north in Toronto, spring seemed to awaken the Muse for one screenwriter, who promptly, wisely, answered the call.

In Louisville, Kentucky, a young woman on the verge of adulthood prepared for one of spring's most venerated rites of passage in the Christian world, while three thousand miles west of there, in California, a child slept through the small hours. Like spring, she is only just beginning to awaken to her beauty and power and potential.

In Beijing, bicycles bowed to the bossy, blustery winds that are a regular visitor at this time of the year, as the tropics of Singapore put things back to right in the wake of a tremendous thunderstorm.

But perhaps the most stirring signs of spring were to be found in Tikrit, Iraq, where wildflowers managed, against arid odds, to push through the soil surrounding a helo pad on an American Army base.

That flowers can bloom in a desert, during a drought, from soil that's been drenched in decades of aggression and destruction and uncertainty seems a courageous thing, and may be the best indicator that spring and all its promises are indeed on the way.

Check out the compilation video of date stamps for the month of March, 2009, and then read what the bloggers had to say about spring in their part of the world.

video



________________________________________________

Inswaume Harbour
Morocco, Africa
GMT
(2 p.m., local time)



We've all just come out of the water after surfing at Inswaume — a really other worldly harbour, where the waves break against the harbour wall and go all the way in to the shore — I just rode a wave pretty much all the way in — a fantastic rush!

Pearl Howie
Screenwriter, Filmmaker
________________________________________________

London, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(2 p.m. local time)


I think these daffodils must be camera-shy. Believe me, they turned their heads away the moment the shutter clicked. Must be that hybrid variety called "No publicity!"
Screenwriter
________________________________________________

London, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(2 p.m. local time)


Crystal Palace, Spanish sky.

Elinor Perry-Smith
Screenwriter, Blogger
________________________________________________

Dorset, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(2 p.m. local time)


Proof it's night on impossible to get a bunch of kids to smile, all at the same time... A rare glimpse of my kids Lilirose, 2 (front) and Alf, 10 (the dodgy/evil one at the back in the mustard striped shirt) with their friends (left to right) Jack, 6, Charlie, 10, Kimberley, 12 and Liam, 8. It's a fantastically sunny day here in Dorset and the kids are spending all their time on the trampoline and hitting each other with sticks. As all children should.

Lucy V. Hay

Screenwriter, Blogger
________________________________________________

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom
GMT
(2 p.m. local time)


The start of spring heralds a weekend of birthdays and family visits for this household. We bought this beautiful plant from a local florist as a present, and it looked so lovely that it made me wish I'd bought one for myself!

Laura Anderson
Freelanc
e Writer and Filmmaker
________________________________________________

Toronto, Ontario
Canada

GMT -5

(9 a.m. local time)



Inspiration is a tricky thing. Being that a lot of 'date stampers' are writers/artists, it's probably not hard to understand how tough that can be sometimes. So on a day when I had picked out an interesting architectural subject to photograph, I instead got dragged back to my friend/enemy/lover - my laptop, and started writing. Alas, an interesting picture was replaced by a mundane one... Hope the script doesn't turn out that way...
Svet Rouskov
Screenwriter
________________________________________________

New York, New York
United States
GMT - 5
(9 a.m. local time)


Since the theme for this date stamp is "spring," I thought I'd give it an ironic twist, just like Mother Nature did. In the New York/NJ area, the first day of spring was punctuated by... snow. Yep — big, wet, white flakes of snow. Nothing stuck (at least in New York) but it really was something, to wake up on the first day of spring, look out the window and see snow. The next day was sunny and snowless, but as you can see from the picture, there's still not a whole lot of evidence of spring. The frost still clings to the pachysandra in my parents' backyard in NJ, and the only plants with buds are inside the house — so much for spring having sprung!

Mrinalini Kamath
Playwright, Filmmaker
_____________________________________________

Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
GMT - 5
(9 a.m. local time)



The first day of Spring in Raleigh, North Carolina – a balmy 39°F (4°C) – sunny and bright and beautiful. And although today is gorgeous, people remain indoors with their coffee and pastry and friends.

And to look at the parking lot – a packed parking lot at that – you gotta ask yourself: Where’s the recession?

Anyway, I’m back inside, ready to write – with my coffee and pastry surrounded by a sea of familiar faces.
Michael Scherer
Screenwriter
_____________________________________________

Louisville, Kentucky
United
States
GMT - 5
(9 a.m. local time)


One rite of spring is sacramental: Confirmation at the Cathedral of the Assumption. My daughter is listening to Sister Lisa instruct her and twelve other teens who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation at the Easter Vigil in two weeks. There is a cozy feeling here, this morning; it is a gathering of dear friends, who are either parents or sponsors of these fledgling Christians. And in joy, I fly out the doors in time to catch the sonorous toll of ten strokes from the chiming clock tower of this dear Church.

— Jeanne Hammond

Screenwriter
_____________________________________________

Westlake Village, California
United States
GMT - 8
(6 a.m. local time)


A few more date stamps now, and you will have the benefit of sunlight to work with. For the time being, your part of the world is still asleep at 2 p.m. GMT, and as much as you prefer the warmth and comfort of your bed at this time of day, you're glad you didn't miss this moment.

At ten years of age, she is still a child, but you see signs of the young woman she will be stirring. Like spring, the seeds have been planted, are already taking root. It is only a matter of time.

She is both thrilled and terrified, knowing that she will not be a little girl for much longer. Maybe that's why she is not ashamed to be seen here, clinging to her favorite bear, Mercedes. In truth, the bear could use a good spin through the washing machine, but she won't even entertain the idea. Mercedes has nursed her through flus and tears and the passing of her grandmother, and in her eyes, the bear wears these memories in the folds of her sleeves and the crust on her coat. That's where her childhood lingers.

Fair enough. It's the springtime of her life, after all, and you want her to savor every last second of it.
— Pamela Schott
Author, Screenwriter

_______________________________________________

Beijing, China
GMT + 8
(10 p.m. local time)


AT THE CROSSROADS... What constantly strikes me about China — in the eight months that I've lived here — is the seeming incongruity of things. Tonight, on a wide avenue lined with four- and five-star hotels, lie a row of bicycles blown down by Beijing's strong spring winds. This could be any street in any international city, with its high-end boutiques and ornate facades. Yet there are these dusty bikes that have fallen on each other, occupying the median that separates the main road from the bicycle lane. Perhaps it's the only place bicycles are allowed to park. Do the bike-riders work in one of the hotels or restaurants in the area? Bicycles are still the mode of transport for many people. On this upscale, and impersonal boulevard, just a couple of blocks away from The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, I wonder about such people. They are not unlike myself, buffeted by the winds of change.

— Ginley Regencia

_______________________________________________

Royal Ville
Singapore
GMT + 8
(10 p.m. local time)


The first day of spring... Well, no such thing in the tropics really! The night is cool from the afternoon's monster thunderstorm, we're lounging around watching TV and digesting our dinner, while our cat ponders the state of the world around him. Could he be secretly coming up w/ solutions to the world's economy? Or is he possibly plotting an attack on one of our ankles? Or... am I just a tad bored that I'd be thinking about what that little brain could be doing at this very moment? Time for bed methinks!
— Sonia Marzuki
Freelance Writer, PR Consultant
_____________________________________________

Tikrit, Iraq
GMT + 3
(5 p.m. local time)


On this, the first full day of spring, it’s hard to find signs of the season, partly for being in Iraq, party for being in the middle of a drought. I looked high and low, and found these flowers out by a helo pad, flowers tall enough to gently sway in the breeze.

Art La Flamme
Blogger/Army Serviceman
_____________________________________________

Elsewhere in the world:

Panama Canal, Panama
United States
GMT - 8
(6 a.m. local time)















Australian Station
Antarctica
GMT + 4
(6 p.m. local time)




















Abbey Road
London, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(2 p.m. local time)



















Venice Grand Canal, Italy
GMT +1
(3 p.m. local time)

















Paris, France
GMT + 1
(3 p.m. local time)













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jealous

You are jealous of Spring.

Every year at this time, you find her blushing at the thresholds of your doors, catch glimpses of her through your windows and screens, and the feeling returns.

She is vibrant and passionate and easy, Spring. Ready to get it on, to procreate, recreate, duplicate her beauty, to infuse everything around her with life and potential and the promise that all will continue on.

Spring greets the day before the sun has even decided it's time for another go 'round, and lingers long enough in the evening sky to make the thought of setting seem somehow misguided.

Spring is soft and loud and looks perfect in every shade of green, but especially the light ones. She is the life of the party, the belle of the ball, the first to arrive and last to leave. She is fast and loose and fragrant, and if you could bottle her, you would be the wealthiest woman in the world.

Instead, where Spring is light and lithe, you look lethargic. As Spring gets a jump on the sun, you pull the duvet up over your eyes and mentally bargain with the day for five. more. minutes. As she explodes on the scene in all her effortless, ineffable morning glory, you are busy scrubbing and exfoliating and rouging and tweezing, and worrying that you'll not get away with ignoring your roots for much longer. (Spring's roots do not have this problem.) And while she is busy filling heads with her fever, you are rifling through a tired wardrobe, deliberating between sweat pants or shorts, depending on how well your legs survived the winter.

But she's infectious, Spring, and eventually, eventually, she gets to you. And after a while, you find yourself rising with the sun and lingering at the end of the day, watching the shadows grow and wishing it could last. You grow lighter, and more carefree. You smile more at strangers, and take deep breaths of intoxicating air, and you're the better for it.

When this finally happens, when you feel vibrant and passionate and easy again, you know that you have caught Spring's fever, too. And little by little, jealousy gives way to something lasting and profound and true.

Something that looks a lot like gratitude.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

date stamp: gmt 1 p.m., march 13, 2009

Friday the 13th.

The 24h World Project chose this date for our second date stamp installment as a sort of social experiment: What was happening, the world over, on a day when superstitions supposedly run their highest, when sidewalk cracks and ladders are dutifully avoided, umbrellas opened out of doors, and black cats shunned?

In short, everything and nothing.

As you'll read from the following observations and see in some breathtaking imagery, life around the world went on as usual.

Children were reprimanded in China as trash was left on the streets of Manhattan.

In Manchester, traffic chugged and circulated and belted exhaust, while in Singapore, Irish expats chugged pints of Guiness at an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Stacks of water bottles waited to be distributed to thirsty servicemen in the parched, arid Middle East, as rain sprinkled an industrial complex in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Spring blushed in Louisville, Kentucky, while east and west of there, one blogger left the dark confines of a film festival theatre to mark the moment in Scotland, and this writer awoke in the dark in California to do the same.

And criss-crossing the world once again, in a city of over 700,000 citizens, an 800-year-old monument to a beloved wife was noted for its beauty by an appreciative Londoner even as the sun prepared its descent in the evening sky in a lonely place on Earth called Antarctica.

Just another ordinary day in an extraordinary world. Following are some of the images and observations from artists who stopped the clock at 1 p.m. GMT on March 13, 2009 to notice and take notes.

A webcam image of Abbey Road in London kicks things off:

















_______________________________________________

London, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(1 p.m. local time)


I was only going to make a few, but then I kept seeing reports on the work Comic Relief is doing in Africa, and... well let's just say my cupboard got emptied out!

Pearl Howie
Screenwriter, Filmmaker
_______________________________________________

London, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(1 p.m. local time)


Well, not wanting to tempt fate on this traditionally inauspicious date, I decided not to stray too far from my front door.

This is an Eleanor Cross, one of a series of monuments built by King Edward I in memory of his first wife, Eleanor of Castile who died in 1290.

Seven hundred years' worth of wind and rain played havoc with poor Eleanor's carved features, so the current trio of statues are fibreglass replicas from the 1970s. For a time, the originals were housed in the public library. I only wish I'd been old enough to handle a camera back then. Having a medieval queen, of Amazonian proportions, in triplicate, standing guard over the reference section was quite a sight.

Screenwriter





I love this image, and couldn't resist isolating some of the details. You could lose yourself in London over little things such as these.

— P.S.

________________________________________________

Manchester, England
United Kingdom
GMT
(1 p.m. local time)

































— Peter Spencer

Screenwriter
_____________________________________________

Edinburgh, Scotland
United Kingdom
GMT +1
(2 p.m. local time)


I nipped out of a dark screening of experimental short films to take this, and was instantly dazzled by the light and colour of the real world. After taking the photo I had a choice to make: go back to into the blackness or stay in the sunlight. Sunlight - and a strong coffee - won!

Laura Anderson
Freelanc
e Writer and Filmmaker
________________________________________________

Toronto, Ontario
Canada

GMT -5

(8 a.m. local time)



Like a science experiment gone awry, an ice crystal seems to be growing out of the Royal Ontario Museum. A beautiful, yet constant reminder that winter is either here, or on its way. Not to worry though, this crystal won't melt on this -10 celsius morning.
Svet Rouskov
Screenwriter
________________________________________________

New York, New York

United States
GMT - 5
(8 a.m. local time)



I got up, went out and took a couple of pictures in my neighborhood and was set to write about how diverse my neighborhood is and how wonderfully different this is from where I grew up. But on my way back to my apartment, at roughly 8:15, I walked past this pile of trash. Now, I have walked past many piles of trash in New York and seen a wide variety of things being thrown away, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever seen a pair of crutches being thrown, and I had to take a picture. Not just because it was the first time I'd seen a pair of crutches lying on a trash pile, but because I thought that this is a wonderful illustration of the type of minutiae that can inspire an idea and blossom into a story. So much of what writers do comes from this - a snatch of conversation, an image, a name, a place. Those crutches struck me as being the end of the story. Or perhaps the beginning.
Mrinalini Kamath
Playwright, Filmmaker
_____________________________________________

Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
GMT - 5
(8 a.m. local time)


No one works in their cubbies any more — they all seem to be away at meetings — day long meetings. Seems people have meetings just to plan other meetings — it’s a way of life, a new culture.

It’s rainy and cold outside and I wish I was home curled up with a book – on the sofa – anxiously waiting for the heaviness of sleep take over my eyes. Unfortunately — or fortunately based on today’s economy — I’m stuck at work.

And even though it is Friday the 13th, it is Friday, and that means the weekend is here and I will be able to write. I work for the weekends – I work to write.

Michael Scherer
Screenwriter
_____________________________________________

Louisville, Kentucky
United
States
GMT - 5
(8 a.m. local time)


One sign that all will be well is spring! The season that surprises us a bit, jolts us out of our cold gloom. If the trees can smile, so can I. Hope may recede for a season, but it comes around!

— Jeanne Hammond
Screenwriter
_____________________________________________

Westlake Village, California
United States
GMT - 8
(5 a.m. local time)


Another date stamp in the pitch of night. Even with the clocks moving forward this week, you're still in darkness.

The nightstand is an easy subject (at least this time you're not trudging around in the frosty front yard for a photo).

It's the last thing you see when you close your eyes, and the first thing you encounter the next morning. On nights when ideas override the shut-off valve, and your mind is racing, it's also where your gaze falls most frequently until sleep slips in again. What better place, then, to leave a reminder of something you have been working for for most of your adult life, to see it realized in a tangible way, until it actually does become real?

A jacket cover for Music from a Scorched Earth, your first work of long-form fiction, sits on the nightstand, waiting to see the light of day.

— Pamela Schott
Author, Screenwriter

_______________________________________________

Shanghai
China
GMT + 8
(9 p.m. local time)


GROWING PAIN: Our son really tested his limits this week — to the point of being irresponsible. Pushing boundaries is how we grow as people. Certainly, our family's move to Shanghai from Louisville, Kentucky, nearly eight months ago, has taken us out of our comfort zone. I just wonder if the transition has hastened our eldest child's impulse to see exactly how much he can get away with. Or, is this not such unusual behavior for a ten-year-old boy in fifth grade? It wasn't typical of our son — until the last couple of weeks anyway. We've already taken privileges away, seemingly to no avail. Now, at bedtime on a Friday night, Dad tells him that he's losing something that's not easily won back — our trust.
— Ginley Regencia
_______________________________________________

Royal Ville
Singapore
GMT + 8
(9 p.m. local time)


Here I am sitting in a posh ballroom, celebrating St. Pat's with my Irish husband and the Singapore chapter of the St. Patrick's Society. Everyone's all dressed to the nines, we've dined on amazing 5-star gourmet cuisine, the Irish dancers have brilliantly strutted their stuff and a good few have put in their bids in the silent auction for assorted art pieces, memorabilia and Persian carpets. So... recession? What recession? Well, I suppose we can all forget that for now thanks to St. Pat. Ah Guinness! How did I come to love thee? Oh never mind! Slainte!
— Sonia Marzuki
_____________________________________________

Tikrit
Iraq
GMT + 3
(4 p.m. local time)


I find great irony with this — water collecting dust. Partially because I’m in Iraq, and partially because there’s a drought on.

Art La Flamme
Blogger/Army Serviceman










Elsewhere in the world:

Panama Canal, Panama
United States
GMT - 8
(5 a.m. local time)
















Australian Station,
Antarctica
GMT + 4
(5 p.m. local time)




















Venice Grand Canal
Italy
GMT +1
(2 p.m. local time)


















Paris
France
GMT + 1
(2 p.m. local time)



















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Thursday, March 12, 2009

(re)orientation

Last night was orientation for all incoming freshman at the local high school. "Surreal" does not describe the feeling of sitting on the bleachers in the gym, surrounded by pennants in Warrior colors and anxious, acne-ridden kids, doused in fluorescent lighting, knowing (but not yet fully comprehending) that you're here for your kid. Your baby.

Joining Facebook recently probably doesn't help, because it has brought an immediacy to high school — your high school — that you haven't felt in over 20 years. Friends, acquaintances, people you knew in passing, people you wanted to know — they're all there, suddenly, their lives open to you with the swipe of a finger across the track pad, looking just about how you remembered them, with kids of their own, and jobs and mortgages and... grown up stuff.

You loved high school, loved your classes and friends, loved going to the games and watching football practice, loved being a part of a community of people at a time when the world was right there, at your fingertips, waiting for you to explode into it, to wake up to your potential, to turn everything to gold with your touch, simply because you believed it was possible.

Now, it's your daughter's turn, and you want the same — better — for her. You want her to feel connected, unlimited. You want her to know the heartache of a major crush, and the comfort that comes with sharing that ache with a close friend. You want her to thrill at the smell of new textbooks and the first shavings from a pencil, and to know that it's okay to geek out over stuff like this. You want her to look forward to her classes and to find that teacher who will find something in her, and seek her out, and send her on a life path that she will follow until it's physically impossible for her to do so anymore.

In a matter of months, she'll walk that campus for the first time as a freshman, moving forward into her own future, little by little, moving away from childhood, more and more. Already, you're talking about what courses she should take to prepare for a UC school, which means that college will probably come faster than anything that's come before. She's excited and terrified and ready and reluctant, and so are you. Her orientation last night marked the being of yet another reorientation in your life, and all you can do is cross your fingers, take a deep breath, and say "thank you." For what is, what has been, and what is surely to come.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

how to attract financial abundance into your life

Every now and again, I step out of the observing writer mode on the blog to recommend things I've heard, read, and, um... observed that I think will resonate with my readers.

This morning, I heard author and radio show host Peggy McColl interview Marci Shimoff, the author of "Campbell's Soup for the Woman's Soul," which became a NYT bestseller within a week of its release and has sold over 30 million copies.

You can hear the interview again today as it's rebroadcast. Check the schedule for show times, or sign up to listen again at any time from the archives.

I think the gist of Peggy's message, week to week and show to show, is that abundance flows from happiness, and happiness is rooted in gratitude (hence the name of this here blog). The mere act of noticing what there is around you to be thankful for can turn your life around in the most amazing ways.

Anyway, there's much written by Peggy and others on attracting abundance, so I'll leave it to the pros. If you're looking for a great resource for activating the "on" switch for your life, check her out on Hay House Radio. In fact, browse their list of shows and give other writers a listen. Dr. Wayne Dyer is on there, as is Marianne Williamson, Robert ("The Hottie") Ohotto, and one of my favorite life coaches, Michael Neill of Genius Catalyst fame.

Leaving you until next time with words from the inestimable Mr. Neill: "If you're doing things in order to be happy, you're doing them in the wrong order."
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

finding the "recess" in the recession

Strange things have been happening recently, things that, just a few months ago, would have seemed impossible — assuming they would have ever even crossed your radar. Things that have brought a sigh of relief, room to breathe, a welcome break from the rat race.

In fact, the rat race? Someone called it. And it's over — if not officially and forever, at least for the time being.

And it's all due to the recession.

Granted, this global shift in the financial markets has been no picnic, and there are many thousands of people whose worlds have been thrown into turmoil (you yourself have seen your investments nearly wiped out this year). We've all tasted a heady cocktail of ignorance, greed, and an incapacitating fear, and know from experience that it doesn't go down easy.

But there is an upside to this downturn, something to be gained from staggering losses, insight after blind faith. Because in an unexpected way, after the dust has settled on the destruction left by the recession, and even sometimes when you're still in the thick of things, it is possible to take a break, take a breath, and take it easy for a while.

It's possible, in other words, to find the recess in the recession.

In your own experience, this global contraction has forced you to look at things differently, to prioritize, to examine your list of material "must haves." It's like reaching that age when you no longer care about keeping up with the Joneses, only you're 40, not 50 or 60, or whenever that usually happens.

And you're glad of it. Happy to just... stop for while. For the first time in a long time — maybe forever — you don't feel the need to have be do more. For the first time, you are content, and from this feeling of well being, you're now able to have be do more for others who are in far more dire straits that you, those who don't know where their next meal is coming from, those who feel helpless, hopeless.

You don't know how long it will last, this feeling of contentment, of things being set to right, of order amidst the chaos. But you do know that this recession — this recess — has definitely left its mark. And in a strange and unexpected way, you're grateful.

Readers: Have you been able to find the recess in the recession? Comments are open for sharing your thoughts.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

next 24h world date stamp: friday, march 13 1p gmt

What would a 24h World date stamp be without Friday the 13th chiming in?

Next date stamp is set for this Friday, March 13 at 1p GMT. Charge up the camera, set the alarm clock, and get ready to take your best shot.

New to this whole date stamp thing? Check out the first installment in this year-long, international blogging experiment featuring some of the most talented writers the world over, right here.

Want to join in? All are welcome. Guidelines here.

Watch yer back, Friday the 13th. This time, all eyes'll be on you, when world'll be noticing, taking notes.
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