Trying to Draw Something, anything…

Can't draw / won't draw

I AM Tweeting about replacing sugar in my coffee with honey when my friend Claire erroneously replies: “You have to get Draw Something – it’s AMAZING!”

No-one in my family possesses a shred of artistic talent  – though I have been known to dabble in bunting – so the thought of going screen-to-screen in a doodle-off with my friend-with-an-art-degree was met with a wimpy “I can’t draw” and we went on with our days: me congratulating myself for switching to decaf beverages laced with bee juice, and Claire with her index finger glued to the screen of her iPhone waiting for someone to “draw something.”

The following week – around the time that Pinterest failed to raise more than a grunt out of me – I noticed a few friends LOLing and ROFLing in my Facebook mini-feed over what appeared to be a series of scribbles penned by toddlers.

Catherine says to Liz… “I apologise for that last drawing. Bag of shit.”

Meanwhile, Dan taps his cyber fingers impatiently at Rebecca: “UM it’s your turn,” he gripes, uploading an incriminating screen shot entitled, “Waiting, their move.”

In my sidebar there are five app requests from mates inviting me to show them just how horrific I am with a virtual paint brush.

I groan at the thought of yet another app clogging up my iPhone and close down Facebook. I should be writing about dead dogs anyway.

A week later, and in the process of attempting to remain abreast of media trends, I relented and Googled Pinterest (I still don’t see the attraction – I’ll let you know if I do), read about various social networking sites banning pro-anno and “thinspiration” pages and stumbled across an article telling me why Draw Something is better than Words With Friends.

As a frequent WWF winner (no, I do not moonlight as a wrestler or champion the plight of animals), I remained sceptical any app would tip my fave off the top spot – especially when the author sounded more like a social worker when they said Draw Something is better because it’s “co-operative, not competitive”.

I relent and download the free version to see what the fuss is about.

I blink at the screen blankly for a few seconds before fumbling my way into creating a game with Claire.

It tells me I can draw one of three things: mask, tail, lion king.

An image of Simba addressing the herd is probably beyond my meagre talents at this early stage so I settle for “mask”, tentatively jabbing the screen.

I submit what I consider to roughly pass for a masquerade ball mask and wait.

I stare at the screen for a second time and wonder what happens next.

The phone bleeps!

The app loads and asks if I want to watch Claire trying to guess my image. This is a much more high-tech operation in my head than in real life – I imagine it to be a video of my friend’s scrunched up face trying to fathom my piss-poor paint skills.

To my horror it’s actually a replay of me attempting to draw the mask, complete with action shots of me erasing several bits and attaching thin wonky lines to some chunkier wonky lines.

Incredibly she guesses correctly and I am invited to guess her picture. Clearly a connoisseur of the game already, she goes for an eight letter word.

I watch as she draws what I first believe to be a blue blancmange attached to a grey pole turn into a wholly recognisable depiction of “dandruff”.

Now in the swing of things, I take my next turn. I’m disappointed to find I only have access to the colours blue, red, yellow and black but I make do with my attempt at “kick” – a yellow leg with a red sock kicking a blue ball.

Perhaps if I become the latest Draw Something advocate I’ll trade in some coins for crayons and expand my paint palette.

Until then, if someone can tell me what the “bombs” are for I’d be grateful.


Addicted to info

It's all very Working Girl, she said...

I LIKE Thursdays – it’s the day Stylist lands at the office.

Despite my best intentions, I never get around to reading it cover to cover on said day. I dip in and out at lunchtime and savour it for a weekend binge of magazine reading.

This week however, retiring to bed at 8pm full of cold afforded me an unusual time slot in which to indulge my habit.

As I settled under the covers I was thrown from my cosy reverie by the diagnosis of a problem I didn’t know I had: a lack of mindfulness.

Helen Foster and Alix Walker’s feature –Tweet Freedom- sent me into a shame spiral, cowering behind the pages at the spot-on accusation that I am a routinely “two-screening” – an activity which includes watching TV while faffing on a computer.

I thought back to the night before when I had six internet tabs open streaming music, a headphone clamped to one ear and the other half-listening to the billionth re-run of Scrubs.
Instead of congratulating myself for being a 21st Century woman, multi-tasking my way through cyber-world, according to Foster and Walker I am nothing more than a statistic spiralling towards a life of Divided Attention Disorder – an inability to concentrate on more than one thing at once.

True, maybe. But in my defence, having been introduced to the internet at the age of ten, my generation is guilty because this lifestyle is the norm.

Take a typical morning.  The first 20 minutes of my average day is spent reading Metro to catch up on national news. Then I get out my iPhone, check the BBC app for up-to-date info, Daily Mail for gratuitous show-biz gossip and round off with a few flicks through Facebook’s mini-feed.

As a journalist, it’s easy to justify my obsessive compulsive news checking as dedication to current affairs but in fact, it’s more to do with an habitual need to be constantly up-to-date with everyone and everything.

Even as I read the Freedom feature, at the point where it suggested I couldn’t concentrate on one thing at once, the sound of my phone vibrating literally made me flinch.  With a Herculean effort, I told myself I must not read it before the end of the article but the mere fact I had to chastise my inner info-junkie speaks volumes in itself.

Life is supposed to be about experience but I characterise an age-group guilty of an addiction to MePhones and Crackberrys, who are too busy updating their Facebook status.

According to research, we spend eight hours and 48 minutes a day absorbing media. It’s impossible to keep track of everything, so why are we wasting so much time trying to do so?

Despite working in an industry where internet use is mandatory, I don’t want to be ruled by various technological appendages, because there’s something to be said for going home, not sitting at yet another computer screen, and reading that book that’s been collecting dust on my nightstand for eight (eight!) months.

Oh – and the text message I received? It was an MMS from my best friend, who was out at a craft night in London, interacting with people and playing with glitter and glue.

I would rather be there than on Facebook any day.