A Change of Heart

sign on changing room door

A recent car ad on TV made me think. It was meant to do that, apparently. An actress, sitting in a Hyundai car advises us  that ‘change is good’, as her hairstyles and make-up cycle through various changes.


This is good, we are supposed to think. That woman looks good with lots of different looks. In case we don’t already know,  she tells us she is an actress, and  this sort of change is good for her. I don’t think she’s a method actress, ‘cos one review she got for her role in the film Hitman: Agent 47 described her as ‘dull and unconvincing’. To be fair, the whole film might have been like that. Change must be doing her good in some other way, then. People are invited to offer their thoughts on #changeisgood on Twitter. So why do they think change is good?

twitter commentsReally? I feel a whole other post is called for here. Let’s play ourselves out with a tune.


Ronald Wouldn’t Approve

Happy boy eating burger outside McDonald's

I went to McDonald’s the other night with a friend. We were ravenous and ordered a couple of wraps from the specials menu. We kidded ourselves that we had managed to order the healthiest option on the menu, but ‘though we knew in our hearts it wasn’t true, we were cheered by the thought that it was definitely the cheapest, and the two meals came in at under 10 Euros.


Gifs of the 80s at Tumblr.com


We both walked away from the counter with a large Ronald McDonald smile on our faces, despite the fact that our ‘healthy’ options were going to take a whole FIVE minutes to prepare. We pretended we were busy people with hectic schedules, and tried to look quite put out by the unreasonable waiting time, but I don’t think the staff member serving us thought we were all that special, and we sloped off to lurk by a table to get our order. We couldn’t sit, since all the tables were occupied, except the long one where 12 or so people are close enough that their elbows poke into your chips, and you can see the mastication take place REALLY close-up.

Manwith sauce on tie eating
Men’s Trait.com

We could see other people approach the long table with their trays, consider it, then veer away. After a few minutes a cluster of The Unseated developed at the foot of the stairs leading to the first floor. One after another, we arrived, stared at the sign hung across a rope that said CLOSED, paused for consideration, then sadly dismissed the idea of going upstairs. I have to admit, I tried to goad a few of them into going up the stairs, safe in the knowledge that I was waiting for the arrival of my food, and therefore free of the responsibility  of being the scouting party or trend-setter that would start the stampede, and therefore also free of the blame if a giving-out to was going to ensue. No dice, even the couples, who had a partner to discuss options with, rejected the idea of going to the upstairs seating area as too radical. One after another, the sheep wandered back to the fold of the by now completely full downstairs seating area to eat their meals standing up.  Our meals arrived. Our bluff had been called. The sheep watched us furtively to see if we would find the grass greener upstairs.

Flock of sheep

We took a deep breath, and clutching our trays, marched past the sign and up the stairs, where we discovered an almost empty floor, except for a few other rebels, who seemed to nod slightly in recognition as we entered to claim our natural rights, a seat to eat at. And no angry Ronald McDonald anywhere (unless he’s waiting outside)!

Image by Daniel Grosvener on FlickrRonald McDonald outside McCafe

Now, and Now, and Now

Eckart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ is one of the many books out there that looks at the idea of ‘no thought’, that is, being conscious without following the little monkey in our minds that likes to skip after  every thought we have, making us miss the moment we’re actually in. Tolle describes this as an addiction to thinking. He argues that thinking is a way of trying to escape from the present moment. A non-judgemental being in the moment is a tricky little number to explain, as words explain concepts, and concepts are what we are still  trapped in when we are trying not to think.

What’s the usefulness of what Tolle talks about? Well, if you like what he said in the first video, you might find out more of what he thinks it is from this one. On the other hand, you might have to create your own point, or even find it pointless to wonder how to connect with your deepest truth.


Where Nature and Culture Collude

Sometimes money isn’t the bottom line. There are people out there (thank goodness) who care as much about creativity for its own sake as thinking about how they can create more cash out of the cash they’ve invested. I came across this creative pair on Adobe TV. They are generative designers, who work on the interface between art and design, using as many free tools as they can, and sharing their knowledge with others in workshops. Good stuff.

A Whole New World

Woman on 1950s telephone
Crazy Telephone Lady

Don’t you just hate fakes? Fake people, who pretend they are somebody just ‘cos they’ve got the right clothes on their backs, or the right car in their drive. They can’t just quietly consume; they have to have everyone else know about how superior their life is to someone else’s. ‘Look at me’, their every public move seems to say, I am just so much more important than you. When they wave their phones around and have shouty conversations that’s what they’re at; the poor devils are actually looking for the world to notice them. They don’t really feel they exist until you do notice them, and are oblivious to the fact that you’re hoping a hole in the ground will open and swallow them whole, because they’re just relieved that all the effort of existing has had a pay-off.

sign at cliff edge

Some fake things are OK though. The entertaining stuff that delights and surprises is a kind of gift to humans. I came across this beach panorama recently, when exploring Amsterdam. Not able to get  to an actual beach, I made do very nicely with this fake one, right in the middle of the city. Gulls squawked, breeze blew, fishing nets littered the beach, and everyone smiled as we were all transported in our imaginations by an artist’s 3D construction which fools the eye.

The Fake and the Real


Irish Rail Toilet Landscape
Irish Rail Toilet

The lure of nature is hard to resist. Some of us love our home comforts, too, though. Hence the joy of sitting on the loo when your toilet door is built so that it faces out into a garden which neighbours can’t see into, as ours was, until recently. One can experience the earthy oneness with nature with the door wide open. It doesn’t get any more real, without the bother of  nettles getting at places you rather they would have not come into contact with. Then the builders came.

They were warned, but didn’t seem to understand what was so special about the whole toilet experience, and the door ended up not facing out to the garden any more, and members of the household wandered around aimlessly, before migrating to the charmless upstairs loo instead. The old downstairs toilet was replaced too, but although my brother saluted it forlornly as the skip did its last tour past our house, he didn’t mourn it as long as the loss of his solitary morning moments with nature.

The outside loo, despite the changes, will never be as grim and depressing as Irish Rail’s loo offering, which consists of a big-buttoned sliding door which the occupants often neglect to lock. No point in leaving a door open here, as the only landscape you will be in is the sterile photographic one that the curved walls are plastic-coated with;  a view across fields containing pixelated cows and interrupted occasionally by giant buttons urging you  to for God’s sake LOCK THE DOOR!