June 2010

Me and Some Girl on TV

Driving home last night from parts further south, I was stopped on a minor highway between two small Ontario towns. Cars and vans and miscellaneous vehicles lined both sides of the road, and a huge blinding spotlight was illuminating spooky fog swirls up ahead. I expected a R.I.D.E check but that wasn’t it.

We weren’t moving at all. Cars in front of me turned around and went back. After debating whether or not to do the same, to trust the road sign at the intersection I’d just crossed and detour on a road I’d never driven on before, I too turned around. Oh, sure, now some guy puts up a road closed sign. But I also saw a couple other guys on the side of the road dressed similarly in odd whitish/grey outfits. I decided to ask them what was going on as I drove by.

The answer? Filming for some TV show, I was told. Then the guy said, “Hey, you look like Being Erica‘s Erica.
I laughed, said thanks, and went on my way. I was thinking either the guy needs glasses or it was the fact that

  1. it was dark out
  2. and drizzling rain
  3. and I asked the question through the passenger side window while sitting in the driver’s seat so he couldn’t see clearly 

Still, it’s okay to be mistaken for the star of a TV show who happens to be only 32. Hah!

(I confess to recognizing “Being Erica” as the title of a CBC TV show but it’s not one I’ve ever watched. I had to look it up today. The premise sounds cool. I might just have to check it out now.)

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

Frog Find

I dashed out to cut some chives for my dinner the other day when I was surprised by this green guy:

Maybe it’s an all-you-can-eat slug buffet at the third clump of chives from the tarragon. Bring some friends!!

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.


Between the natural world throwing us an earthquake yesterday, last night’s tornado off to the southwest of me, severe thunderstorm warnings here this morning (which amounted to only heavy rain, thankfully), and all the security and shenanigans associated with the G8, things here have been rather interesting lately.

Yesterday my kids came home excited to tell me about the military helicopter that landed across from the school and how everyone in a couple classroom portables abandoned their desks and ran outside for a better look. I guess some guy told them to get back and it took off again. The kids got a talking to from their teacher too.

And yesterday three very loud helicopters flew over the house a couple times. Those things are loud! The wildlife in my backyard was not too impressed. The low flying copters scared at least one heron and a turtle. I initially put the quake shake down to another flyover. Oops!

I know these things are necessary with an event such as the G8 and the important people attending it, but it’s a very odd juxtaposition to have such a technological military/security presence in such a rural region known for being a get-away-from-it-all vacation destination. Makes me appreciate the time when the peepers were my biggest noise complaint:

And I am fortunate that things will return to normal in just a matter of days.

2 appreciate
1’s normal state

© Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.

New Views, Two Views

I’ve been contemplating some info I learned through one of my volunteer activities. Although said activity has nothing to do with writing, the info itself can be useful to writers, I think. 
I was in Toronto (Hi, CN Tower!) at the Skate Canada annual convention a few weeks ago and attended a workshop titled “New Web Strategies.” You can’t beat sports when it comes to expertise in fans and technology, right? 

The workshop was given by Kevin Albrecht of iSport Media and Management. He went over the current landscape in consumption of sport product and internet usage, and how to make use of this to promote and build a community…to eventually make money of course. 

The community being referred to was the community of skaters or skating clubs and organizations and fans, but presumably the community could be any group of individuals with similar interests. Maybe like, say, followers of certain books or authors.

First, it’s kind of obvious, but we were told the goal of any business is to produce content, distribute the content, and somehow make money from that. Whereas in the past the distribution channels for sport were limited to a couple options (TV mostly and only a couple channels at that) now there are hundreds of options for distributing content. Hey, sound familiar my publishing pals? 

Into this new world of distribution options comes these facts:
  •  Canadians spend more time online and view more content online than any other country in the world 
  •  Canadians spend more time online than in front of the TV 
  •  Internet penetration in Canada is 72%; in the USA it’s 62%
Pretty obvious digital content is becoming very important. Add to this a study that found how people view websites. He said a study of 1.36 million internet users found the eye tracks a website this way: across the top, down the left and across the middle/bottom. You have 2.4 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention.

What does that mean?

    • This dictates where your important information and/or big advertising spots on your website should go 
    • You need new content regularly to give people a reason to come back to your site (so quit taking blog holidays already, sheesh!)
      Some interesting predictions were: 
      • live streaming from just about anywhere will become a reality as people live stream events from their own phones and send that to a website of their choosing
      • apps to a closed community will be worth the most money (so eg. a skating club app with schedule, news, competition results, live streaming of competitions or events, etc) 

      So will we soon see author apps?

      I bet it’ll start out with the big guys, those who are big enough to warrant interest in appearances, opinions, news of forthcoming books, etc. Maybe later on it will filter down or come down in price for those of us with a more modest presence.

      Food for thought, no? 

      Sure made me think. It was fun to step outside my regular writing mindset. I was glad I went on a number of levels. Besides, this easily-fascinated-by-forms-of-transportation gal got to enjoy this view from my hotel room. Airplanes took off from the runway, and there are sailboats, ferry boats, and a water taxi. Yes, this view was pretty easy to take.

      But at the banquet I kinda wish I’d never had this view. Who wants a big ole castor canadensis looming over an otherwise stellar dinner? 

      (Yeah, it’s standing on the floor and that’s the ballroom CEILING and part of one of those gargantuan projection screens on the right.) Apparently they’ll make a big inflatable anything these days.

      © Lizann Flatt, www.lizannflatt.com
      No part of this blog may be used without written permission from the author.