Interesting Times [Part I]

On Thursday I spent the day/evening at Interesting South. For more info about exactly what that is, go here. Or here. And to find out more about where it came from, go here.

During the day, I joined the wonderful Emily and her band of troupers to help transform the Bondi Pavillion Theatre into a cosy home away from home for those attending the conference. I was hoping that the set would invoke the sense of watching people chat in their own home. Kind of like a super-sized dinner party. With microphones and powerpoint. It seemed to work well and it did feel nice and homely. I even made tea for all the speakers and that turned out to be really fun and a nice extra element to the whole occasion.

I only got to hear bits and pieces of most of the talks because I was fixing tea (and definitely didn’t have time to draw like I did in London, but I still heard some amazing things and met some really lovely people at the conference afterwards.

Here’s a hodge-podge snapshot of what I got:

Dan Hill and his spectacular system for keeping check on energy output:
“I’m not suggesting we all have huge numbers above our buildings, keeping score. Actually that is what I’m suggesting”

Matt Moore’s poetic guide for making a zombie.

Errol Flanagan‘s fantastic presentation on perception and understanding
“What’s green, sir?”

Dr Adrienne Withall’s great study of Happiness parts I and II, including the fact that 50% of one’s happiness is genetic (oh shit) but that 40% is outlook (woo hoo!).

I loved the Happiness Manifesto and the Make Slough Happy campaign, of which I only remember a couple of points:

•Be grateful for at least 3 things a day
•Smile at a stranger
•Reduce your television contact
•Talk to a good friend for at least an hour a week;

Pia, the Sydney Dork-bot Overlord (how cool is that title!) reminded me that I need to go a Dork-Bot meeting in Melbourne, and see people “doing strange things with electricity”;

Adrienne and Pia sipping tea

The 3 Tims:

Tim Baynes, the scientist from an unnamed scientific organisation, who talked about sustainability in terms of the exponential growth, which was scary and exciting at the same time;

Tim Noonan, who is a fantastic performer and who can read people’s voices as a way of knowing more about them (vocal, instead of body language);

and Tim Longhurst, who was responsible for the fantastic Zero Coke Movement which hit big time earlier this year.

Juan’s Free Hugs/Free Homes campaign;

The evening went so quickly and like someone on the night said, it didn’t feel like 17 speakers, more like about 9. And the conversations in the club afterwards were similarly fantastic, including how much to reveal when blogging, what others would speak about and whether SARS was worth getting excited about.

Congrats to Emily and the Sydney Coffee Morning* crew for a fab time and keep an eye out for Interesting South 2008

Big thanks to Piers and Richard for these pics on the flickr.

*[watch this space Melbourne bloggy kids, I think I’m going to start a Coffee Morning]

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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