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Don't be a Square

My dictatorial little friend Danbo has asked me to "stop all that boring pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo", and play with him instead. As usual, he is right, but I have gone one better: I have re-invested in my childhood.

Because of my day-job, I am interested in new ways of working and training people for improved performance, including e-learning and the use of corporate social media. One of the blogs I follow is that of John Stepper (www.johnstepper.com  ), where he talks about the concept of "Working Out Loud". I find the idea of making your work and learning more visible - sharing it with others, and framing it as contribution - a compelling idea. In his post  of 21 June 2014, he gave the example of his 9-year old daughter learning to solve the Rubik's cube from YouTube and friends at school, and how it contained several levels of this approach. Apart from the interesting article, it got me thinking about how long it was since I'd had a Rubik's cube. I feel sure I was able to solve it as a teen, but I certainly couldn't remember any of it now. These days there are on-line tutorials for almost everything you want to learn, and generic versions of the cube from China can be had from the web for a low, low price. I bought two: one for my 16-year old son, because there is no better incentive than "friendly" competition. So far I'm ahead; I've been having lots of fun, and I can solve the cube again: albeit slowly and with a lot of help from YouTube. The two bottom layers are almost routine, but the top requires memorizing several "algorithms", so there is a way to go yet.

Danbo is very keen on the cube; I think there is an affinity based on geometry. I wanted him to look his best, so for today's image I used translucent orange and green plastic sheets on white backgrounds to match the cube. I'd previously purchased a bunch of these in various colours from an art store, as light-modifiers for macro photography. With my black-back-painted glass as a mirror, it was a snap to get the image I wanted with the now-confirmed-as-working Fuji X100. I then used my new-technique for adding "reflexture" to finish the image. I love it when you see an image in your mind's eye, and can make it all come together within a few short minutes!

As you grow into adulthood, taking on progressively greater responsibilities, it can be easy to focus on the very real challenges that confront you from day to day. Careers & finances, relationships and children, loss and uncertainty: they all contrive to make you a "serious" person. Life is too short to miss out on some fun along the way, so in the spirit of keeping you young-at-heart, think about how you might maintain a spirit of playfulness in your creative pursuits.