Tag: events

Brick, gold or green?

Joan, Chinese woman wearing yellow, is sitting on a table in front of an audience. Visible on the table are two white men, one wearing blue chequered shirt, the other in a dark suit.
I moderated a panel at Arup’s Shaping our City event in February 2015.

At a presentation in London, I heard someone from Futerra describe three types of environmentalists: the bricks, golds and greens.

These three types are environmental versions (extensions) of Dade’s three value modes: settler, prospector and pioneer. I made a booklet version of these ideas for an event I hosted at work. You can download it here (1.6 MB PDF):

The front page of a booklet entitled 'What drives your worldview?'. It includes two silhouetted heads talking to each other with colourful speech bubbles.
I wrote a short summary of Dade’s value modes to help people understand the different values that drive environmental behaviours.

Here is a screenshot of part of the short booklet.

Three columns headed by pictures of a brick, gold bar and a grassy patch. The image includes information on how the proportion of people in each category for the US, Australia and UK. For the text, download the booklet PDF in the link above.
This is an image from the booklet and describes the values behind the environmental behaviours of bricks, golds and greens.

The introduction of the booklet says:

The following three ‘value modes’ are one handy way of understanding a people’s worldviews. They are based on surveys of thousands of people around the world on what values drive their behaviours and opinions. I often ask people to sort themselves into these groups as workshop icebreaker…

These value modes help us pitch messages that resonate with the different audiences in our organisations and communities, which is vital when we are looking for behaviour change.

Even more importantly, we recognise that people might make the same sustainable decisions for entirely different – and legitimate – reasons. Personally, I find it inspiring that there are lots of different ways of thinking about sustainability.

I wish that the booklet included a link and credit to the original authors but this information got lost between my draft and the graphic design publication. For far more detail, you can dive in at Culture Dynamics. Hat tip again to Futerra.

No pain, rogaine

We did something new on the weekend — rogaining. An hour north of Melbourne, our team of five friends competed with a hundred other teams to find as many checkpoints in the forest as we could within six hours. No smartphones or GPS allowed, just a compass and map.

It’s a good thing I’m on Week 6 of 9 the Couch to 5k running program. It means I can comfortably run for 20 minutes. My heart didn’t let me down as we tramped through prickly bush, climbed Steep Track and power walked towards our targets.

On the way to our third checkpoint, I tripped and crashed.

‘Are you okay?’ my team mates asked.

Surprised, I couldn’t answer.

It was exactly like the two seconds immediately after a toddler falls over, when you can see him working out if he is going to cry.

‘Joan, are you okay?’ they asked again

Mm. Still no pain.

‘Uh yes,’ I finally said. ‘Okay.’

As they helped me up, I said, ‘I haven’t fallen since I was a kid. It doesn’t hurt like I remember.’

My friends patched me up with antiseptic and giant bandages, then we were on our way.

The second checkpoint we found.
We found it! This was our second checkpoint. Another team found it the same time.
Registering at the second checkpoint
Damjan and Michael wore our team’s nav lights on their wrists. These had to be registered at each checkpoint we found. Sometimes when we spotted a checkpoint down in a gully or across a creek, we sent them onwards and waited for them to return. Ha ha ha.


The time

As a fun prize for being ‘best supporting actress’ in my Business Economics class, our course director Tom awarded me this watch-bangle, which he bought from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

V&A watch bangle
V&A watch bangle

I wore it on the final day of our course, when we presented our projects to the Directors in our London office. We had a lovely lunch afterward, with tasty food and good conversation.

All good things come to an end, though. I needed to meet up with Damjan in the afternoon.

‘What’s the time?’ I asked one of my colleagues.

‘It’s 10 to 2,’ he said.

‘Oh,’ I laughed. ‘It’s not a real watch!’ I lifted my arm to show him.

He looked serious ‘No. Really. It’s 10 to 2.’

I looked at his watch. So it was!

Electric car

I had just enjoyed a dinner at Monash University in the middle suburbs of Melbourne and expected to take a late night bus, then train, back into the city. I was very pleased when one of the guests offered to drive me home.

‘Actually, you can drive yourself home,’ David said. ‘You see, I have an electric car, which is part of the government’s pilot programme. As part of the deal, I’ve promised to get as many people as I can to have a go driving it.’

What luck! This would be my first time in an electric car.

Mitsuibishi i-MiEV, electric car
Mitsuibishi i-MiEV, electric car
An electric car has its own quirks. I drove the Mitsubishi i-Miev, which doesn’t have a key. Instead, you use a button to start the engine. The gears are similar to an automatic car, with the addition of a ‘brake regeneration’ gear. I used it in the Burnley Tunnel to slow down. Instead of braking with the pedal, I put in the brake gear and the car slows itself down quickly and captures the energy for the electric battery.

On the CityLink tollway, I felt a large freight truck pushing up towards me at 100 kilometres per hour.

‘You’re in the left lane.’ David said. ‘Why is it so close?’

‘He probably wants a closer look at the electric car,’ I said.

Sweet or tart

Damjan made lemon ice tea as a family friendly aperitif for our new year’s eve BBQ. He made two versions: a sweet one and a tart one (more lemon).

To help people distinguish between the options, I made the labels.

Small mercies

One of the highlights of my four years in the UK will be going to the Fat Duck. It was worth the expense, and the 50-minute train journey from London to Maidenhead and back.

Daniel Yeow provides an illustrated blow-by-blow account of our visit. You will remember that he was the one who documented last year’s gourmet adventure to Gordon Ramsay too.

I will leave it up to Daniel to tell the gastronomic story. All I wanted to say here was that we started at 7pm and rushed to catch the half-past-midnight train. I made it to bed past 2am.

The next day, I did not have my usual packed lunch. No time to make it, you see. So I went to Pret A Manger for a light salad (compensating for the richness of last night).

When I reached the top of the counter queue to pay, the cashier asked in that annoying perky way, ‘How are you doing today?’

‘Fine,’ I said shortly. Normally, I’m friendly but today I was exhausted.

It must have shown in my face. The perky counterhand paused for a heartbeat and said, ‘Would you like a cappuccino? On the house!’

‘On the house? Well… sure!’

He reached behind him to get a hot takeway cup of coffee and handed it to me with my lunch and change.

‘Wow, thanks,’ I said, still surprised. ‘You’ve made my day.’

Joan trying to find Fat Duck on the map
Joan trying to find Fat Duck on the map. It turns out that it was right behind me. Photo by Daniel Yeow (2010).
Heston Blumenthal's mock turtle soup. Head over to Daniel Yeow's website for more photos.

Best costume award

After collecting nine toilet rolls in a week, I spent a few hours on Hallowe’en Saturday going back to my childhood. With Aoife cheering me on, I painstakingly traced out the classic toilet symbols for ‘male’ and ‘female’ on foamboard. Then I coloured them in with permanent marker.

The result? I won best costume of the party.

Toilet costume

Judge Mandy, explained. ‘The theme of the party was to come dressed as something you’re afraid of. Joan is the winner because, as we women all know, public toilets are terrible frightening places.’

After receiving my award, the Joker (the Heath Ledger incarnation) and a jelly fish came to congratulate me.

‘Great costume,’ they said. ‘But we’ve got to ask. Why are women’s toilets so scary? Are they scarier than men’s toilets?’

‘It’s not that women’s toilets are worse,’ I said. ‘It’s just that for women, public toilets are… well, it’s a more contact sport.’

Conquering my fears

This Saturday, I am going to a Hallowe’en party. The theme is to come dressed as something you’re scared of.

I’ve decided to go as a bee or a public toilet. I haven’t yet decided.

For my bee costume, I would buy yellow duct tape and wrap it around a black skivvy. Maybe I can fashion some antennae and some kind of stinger using pipe cleaners. But wings, what about wings? And the extra two limbs?

The public toilet is a little bit easier. I can hang a WC sign on me with a ‘woman’ silhouette on the front and a ‘man’ silhouette at the back. Around me, I can loop empty toilet rolls, which are a great fear within my general fear of public toilets.

In anticipation, I have taken to collecting empty toilet rolls.

‘Look!’ I exclaimed, waving three empty toilet rolls at my housemate Aoife, who had just arrived home.

‘Well!’ she laughed ‘Have you been conquering your fears and taking toilet rolls from public toilets?’

‘Of course not,’ I waved excitedly. ‘I got these from work! I think we use up lots of toilet paper at work!’

Gordo’s by Daniel

Two weeks ago, Daniel visited us from his base in Amsterdam. Daniel and Damjan are ‘foodies’ and I like food, so we booked ourselves into Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea.

We spent five hours there (7pm to 1am) on a Tuesday night. The artistically plated dishes were full great flavours and textures. The wait staff read our minds.

Daniel has a review and photos on his website so I now direct you there…


Masquerade birthday

I volunteered to take photos at the gala 50th birthday celebration of Damjan’s boss. I love taking photos at events, especially when I don’t know many people. Being designated photographer gives me an excuse not to be awkward when I have no one to talk to but also gives me an opening to strike up conversation with people.

The only trick at this party was that the birthday man wanted me to use his camera, the Nikon D300. I’m sure it is an excellent camera (and it must be, costing £1000). It also had a rather magnificent zoom lens.

However, I’ve never used a Nikon SLR before. As soon as I arrived at the party, I had to frantically flick through the camera quick guide to get myself up to speed. I felt the pressure to do a credible job as the photographer for this milestone event.

It wasn’t until I had to do this did I appreciate just how much I had accustomed myself to my Olympus E-300. I’ve had it for 4.5 years. It is a dinosaur digital SLR. There’s no need for me to upgrade, though. I think I’m probably still limited by my skill more than my equipment.

Here are some photos. That’s me in the middle. I found a beautiful mask of red and black velvet with black tassells. It has a headband rather than a elastic that goes around the back of my head. The headband makes it comfortable and also avoids squishing hair to the sides of my head.

Masquerade party
Masquerade party