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Archive for July, 2009

There seems to be a theme to my day today, various animals cheering me up and entertaining me.

First of all I came by these two fluffy beauties this morning as I drove down George’s Street in Dublin. They are both tied to the post you see there and patiently waiting for their owner to come back. I have heard from someone on Twitter that the same person does in fact, own both of them. Stunning!

Fluffy beauties

Fluffy beauties

Next, a friend sent me a link to a penguin story, about two penguins in the Zoo in San Francisco who caused quite a stir when they nested together – because they were both boy penguins! Sadly, they now seem to have borken up thanks to a conniving widow named Linda. Hmmph!

And finally…my favourite…thanks to @qikipedia on Twitter, who got it from @weirdimals…the piglet squid 😀

Ain’t he cute? Love the hair do…

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You’ve got to love Ben Dunne. What you see is what you pretty much get with him and the fact that he insists on doing his own (sometimes questionable quality) radio ads just proves that there are no airs and graces about him, no faffing about, nothing to hide.

Recently I joined one of Ben Dunne’s gyms thanks to a rock bottom price of €175 for a 15 month membership.

The reason it was so low, apparently, was that they were getting rid of the swimming pool and all other wet facilities (steam room, sauna, jacuzzi) to make way for more equipment. In my mind I was thinking that the place is probably going to be closed for a month or so to facilitate the works, hence the great price.
However when I visited the gym on Tuesday last, I was handed the letter below.

Ben Dunne_2

Text of letter in case you can’t read it:

Dear Member,

Westpoint Health & Fitness Club has reversed the decision to close the Pool, Sauna, Steam room and Jacuzzi facilities in the club.

The decision to close the pool area was spearheaded by me, however, after further discussions with my directors, management and members, I realised I got it wrong.

I would like to apologize to the members for any inconvenience caused.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Dunne

Not only is he man enough to say ‘Hey I had an idea but I got it wrong’, Mr. Dunne has the strength of character to say sorry too, in writing, and to hundreds of people. There aren’t too many public figures in Ireland who’d do the same.

If only the government could take a leaf out of his book…”we tried this, it didn’t work so we’re going to stop now and try something else” – imagine the difference that would make!

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My Sisters Keeper movie poster

My Sisters Keeper movie poster

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ tells the tale of Anna Fitzgerald, a 13 year old girl who is fed up being used as a donor for her older sister Kate and decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. Anna was engineered to be an exact match for her sister to try to save her from leukaemia.

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and injections to help her sister, Kate, fight leukaemia. Anna was born for this purpose, her parents tell her, which is why they love her even more.

But now she can’t help but wonder what her life would be like if it weren’t tied to her sister’s…and so she makes a decision that for most, at any age, would be too difficult to bear, and sues her parents for the rights to her own body.

Before I read it, I’d heard great things about Jodi Picoult’s book ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. And in reading it, I wasn’t disappointed. It was gripping and compulsive reading and I was shocked and distraught by the ending. One of the most distressing things in the book I found, was the story of Jesse, the son and brother in the family, completely ignored, a shadow on the edge of a heartbroken family, left out and desperately unhappy.

My Sisters Keeper book cover

My Sister's Keeper book cover

But I read the book over two years ago. So when a friend suggested we go see the movie, I remembered having been riveted by the book and agreed to go. Four of us went in the end, two had read it, two had not. The movie itself is a simplified and stripped down version of the book. They had to take away a lot to get it into the ninety or so minutes that it lasts but I think they might have over simplified it. The ending in the movie is different to that in the book and apparently the author was none too happy with the change. However, having sold the rights to the book she had no say in the change but she did have this to say on her website:

Yes, I know the ending is different. Yes, I know some of you are very upset. I didn’t change it. The author has no control over the movie, and it was hard for me to accept too. However, there’s a great deal in the movie that I think is great, and I enjoyed watching it – and I hope you did too. Please don’t email me asking me why I changed the ending, or “let” Hollywood do that – it wasn’t something I had any control over.

She also includes a link for readers to Tell Warner Bros what YOU think which leads to the comments page on the official movie website.

My friends who hadn’t read the book thought it was great. One of them cried for almost the whole ninety minutes, pretty much from the start. It was a complete snot and tear fest. It is a hard one to watch, especially for someone with children of their own, Kate being constantly sick and very close to death for much of the film. Admittedly I cried even though I knew the story, the two who hadn’t read the book were inconsolable and the other friend managed not to cry at all. Just. I’d never watch it again and I’d recommend not paying a tenner to go and cry for ninety minutes. Spend the money on buying the book, an all together more rounded story 🙂

An interesting fact is that the Fanning sisters, Dakota and Elle were set to play the parts of Anna and Kate and there are even some graphics for the movie with them floating about the interweb…but it all ended when Dakota heard she’d have to shave her head for the movie!

My Sisters Keeper with Fanning sisters

My Sister's Keeper with Fanning sisters

If you want to find out more about ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ and Jodi Picoult’s other books, you can visit her website here, more info on the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, here.

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media_contact logo

Last Tuesday, MediaContact led by Jack Murray held a one day masterclass in public relations entitled ‘Make Your Business Famous’ aimed at giving people an introduction to the world of the media and PR and making it work for their company. The course included the ‘how to’s and the ‘what to do’, ‘what not to do’s of PR and was held in the Camden Court Hotel.

Mediacontact.ie is Ireland’s leading publisher of print and online media directories.  They began business in 2006 when they acquired the, long-established, Irish Media Contacts Directory which provides a comprehensive list of media contacts for the 32 counties both on-line and in an annually published directory.

JACK  Murray

Jack Murray, MediaContact.ie

The course promises to teach participants

• How the Irish media works.
• How to set communications objectives for your business.
• How to run an effective media campaign.
• How to approach journalists and build a working relationship with them.
• What makes a good story?
• How to write a press release that will get published.
• How to organise a great photocall

Jack certainly covered all of these topics and more during the course, with exercises and tasks throughout the day to ensure each individual was learning from what we were doing and also to apply the theory to practical situations.

It’s a great course for an introduction to the media, to how it works, how to approach people with a press release or news story and, just as importantly, how NOT to do it.

I’d definitely recommend the course to anyone who is at a loss as to how to start a public relations campaign as the course gives the most useful basics of writing a press release, approaching journalists, organising photo calls. Obviously the constraints of a one day course mean that nothing is studied in depth but it is a wonderful introduction to the world of PR for the uninitiated.

This one day course is run on a monthly basis, to find out about the next course you can visit MediaContact.ie, email the lovely Evelyn at evelyn@mediacontact.ie or call 01 475 2050.

Many thanks to Conor from Connector.ie who organised a place on this course for me 🙂


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I was invited along with a few other bloggers to a “Budweiser ‘Behind The Scenes’ Blogger Evening” by the lovely Cliodhna of WHPR, which took place last night in the salubrious surrounds of their office on Ely Place.

Bud Lyric 07

We were promised pizza, beer and a preview of the new Budweiser advert, first airing of which will be on Saturday afternoon on Sky. There were funky aluminium Budweiser beer bottles a-plenty, a truckload of pizza, and finally the watching of the video. We made them play it three times in a row. It’s a cool and funky ad, the kind that you hope will come on in the next ad break just so you can fill in the bits you missed on the last ad break. I’ve seen it now six or seven times and I’m still noticing bits I’ve missed up to now!

Take a look:

In conjunction with the release of the ad there will also be a competition for people to record their own bit of the ad and upload it to the site Alltogethernow.ie (to be launched 4 July 2009) for a chance to, first off, win a case of Budweiser for the first 100 entrants – woo! – and also to be in a second version of the advert to be made up of snippets of videos and photos uploaded by people around the country after they’ve seen the ad 🙂 (depending on the quality of entries of course!)

Thanks to the lovely ladies at WHPR for hosting an informative, fun and lovely evening last night- I’m looking forward to seeing the uploads of people’s own versions of the ad in it’s various parts 🙂

You can read some more comprehensive reports on the night from Christian and Darragh.

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