Good Book, Good Animation

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As you probably know already, I’m a Christ follower. It’s not a big secret or anything, but I also try not to be too forward about it either. It’s who I am, it’s an important part of my life, and if you get to know me, you’ll find out about it one way or another.

Since I’m a Christ follower, reading the Bible is something I do pretty regularly. Believe it or not, I actually love reading it. It’s not a chore for me (though it’s not always easy). I could go on about why I think the “Good Book” is so great, but hey, if you really want to know, just ask me some time.

But this post is not about Bible reading, it’s about Bible watching.

Say what?

If you like animation and have even the remotest interest in what the Bible is about, you definitely need to check out...

The Bible Project

This may sound surprising (it does to me), but I think I’ve learned more about the central themes of the Bible from The Bible Project than I have from listening to sermons or even my own reading time.

They do a great job of breaking things down into simple ideas and explaining a lot of stuff that is typically misunderstood about the collection of ancient texts known as the Bible. And that’s pretty nice because the Bible can be super confusing and daunting. Have you seen the size of that thing? It's huge!

Besides, let’s be honest here, no one has ever accused me of being too smart or too Biblical. Not once. But I’ll wager even if you have suffered such fiery accusations, you’ll learn a thing or two watching The Bible Project. Plus, the animations are top notch (this, from a professional animator).

Recommend: LibriVox

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This week I'd like to share an excellent resource I've begun to utilize.

And that, my friends, is

LibriVox

(as if you didn't already know from the post title)

"So what is it?" You ask. "A live-feed of a chipmunk farm? A clown car storage facility? A whittling enthusiasts group?" Nay, nay. All great guesses though. 

LibriVox is a database of public domain audiobooks, recorded by volunteers.

I believe it's been around for some time, but I've just begun to take part in it and have enjoyed the site immensely.

I first listened to their latest Short Science Fiction collection (61) 

Here were a few of my favorites from the collection:
-The Eyes Have It
-Beyond Lies the Wub
-The Spy in the Elevator
-Once a Greech
-The Blue Tower

Now, I'm listening to the classic horror story, Frankenstein. Writing styles sure were different back then, but I'm enjoying it and, as a writer, learning a lot in the process.

I'll admit, the recordings are are varying degrees of quality, but always listenable. And, hey, it's free after all.

So why not head on over there and take a look (or listen rather) in a book?

Radiolab: color & marrow

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For this week, a couple recommendations, both from the Radiolab podcast:

Colors

All sorts of fascinating stories and discoveries about colors, including the one animal that can see more colors than any other, some people who have additional color sense, and why Homer (The Odyssey one, not Simpson) never mentions the color blue. All fascinating stuff from a creativity standpoint.

Match Made in Marrow

A story of a bone marrow donor, the man she saved and where their unique connection has led them. I found both the presentation and the story itself unique and intriguing. I hope you will as well.

There you have it. You're welcome and enjoy!

recommend: funtherapy

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A recommendation this week: 

Funtherapy

What is it?

It’s the newest podcast I’ve been listening to and, in my totally unbiased opinion, it’s most excellent.

Funtherapy, hosted by Mike Foster, is a very creative way to do a therapy session. It’s also many other things. Beautiful, simple, heartbreaking, and moving—just to say a few. 

Besides that, many of the interviewees are creatives I already enjoy and respect, like Sleeping at Last frontman Ryan O’Neal and Caitlin Crosby, founder of The Giving Keys.

While listening, I've heard some great discussion about the challenges of creativity and the world we now live in.

Here is their own writeup/intro/spiel:

Each episode will feature a candid “therapy” session with a key leader, influencer or artist (with a smile). No talking points. No shameless self-promotion. Only beautiful imperfectness on display as we discover tactics to turn our setbacks into superpowers.

Give your ears a treat and give it a try.

You can listen to the trailer right here

observe

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What you are about to read is a continuation from my series, The Creative Approach.

As you may remember, the three steps to a creative approach are observe, question, and respond. Let’s tackle that first one: observe.

What does it mean to observe? 

Open your eyes. Seeing those words, I can’t help but think of the opening lines in the song, “Always,” by Erasure, which is obviously about the endless struggle to be creative amidst a contrary society. Alright, it’s open to interpretation. 

Where were we … oh yes, observation! So, where exactly should you begin? Why not start at your own front door? Step outside and take in the world. Take off your headphones for a minute and look up from whatever mobile device you’ve been glued to. This is more than a brief glance—let it all in.

While you’re in observation mode, don’t worry too much about trying to get something out of it. Just let things come to you as you discover them. Notice all your senses: what are the sounds, smells and even tastes? Don’t go licking light poles though, people might call the authorities on you—trust me on this one. 

Consider, how do you feel when you first step outside? Refreshed by the first breath of a new day, reluctant to be shoved around in a tight crowd like cattle, dread for an oncoming storm? Is it hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm? What sorts of people or animals are nearby and what are they doing? What do nearby buildings or landscape features look like? All these things may seem mundane at first, but when you really stop to take notice and record, you will begin to see things you haven’t seen before.

One common struggle is to look outside oneself. We spend the vast majority of our time thinking internal thoughts about our own wants and needs and, because of it, our surroundings go unnoticed. 

To be creative, you first have to appreciate your environment. Your environment is where you can draw inspiration. To be stuck inside your head all the time is to miss out. As you begin to look around, you’ll be surprised how a shift of focus will change the way you see the world.

A friend of mine recently published his first children’s book, What Do You Notice, Otis? I love how it encourages kids to pause, observe, and interact with the world around them. Sadly, this has become a neglected practice for many a person (regardless of age) today.

Observation isn’t hard, most of us have just gotten out of practice. But anyone—even a distracted, oblivious guy like myself—can do it. 

For example, on my drive to work I’ve noticed many things I found peculiar: a man wearing blue latex gloves while driving his beat-up silver Honda, another guy holding his leaf blower upright and swinging it as if he were playing a guitar, a girl with a large brace on her leg following her friends who were all in fancy dresses, and a young man who didn’t appear to be homeless with a sign asking for college money. Each of those could be the makings of a good story.

Now it’s your turn; take a moment to pause and observe in the world around you, or, even better, schedule some time and find a place to so do. You might even want to take a journal along for recording purposes. 

When you stop to look around, you’ll discover a world which was previously hidden to you, though it may have been right under your nose (it also helps you avoid stepping into anything … unpleasant). This will set off the sparks to ignite your creative drive and get those wheels in your head turning right round. Besides all that, you’ll find observing can be very fun (I myself am an avid people-watcher).

 

Here’s looking at you kid,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you make it a point to stop and take in your surroundings? If so, what have you noticed lately? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Links to the rest of the series:

The Creative Approach

Observe (current)

Question

Respond

tiny desk

A little recommendation this week, emphasis on little.

I’d like to direct you to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. You can see their YouTube playlist right here.

This is something I only found out about recently and have really got a lot of enjoyment from. They bring a band or artist into their studio and have them play three songs. It’s a small space behind a desk while a bunch of NPR workers crowd around to watch, and, in some cases join in.

The whole thing is low-fi and intimate, which brings a special appeal you don’t find in a normal recording studio or stage concert. My favorite part about it is getting to see a side of the artists you don’t normally witness, something very personal and real. 

I’ve discovered many new artists by watching these as well as enjoyed some great recordings from artists I already loved. There are even some breakout moments I’d go so far as to call magical, such as when Natalie Merchant gets the entire crew to sing an old hymn a cappella with her.

Amazingly, there are even some good comments (which I find remarkable for YouTube), such as these for Andrew Bird’s performance: 

“He always looks like a road-weary salesman who just came in from the rain.”

It’s surprisingly accurate and a bit whimsical. Oh, and there’s this:

“He whistles better than Edward Snowden”

Ha, what can I say, it’s true!

Anyhow, check out Tiny Desk, if you like music at all—you won’t be sorry you did.

jump and live

A friend and coworker recently shared this brief video of Steve Harvey with me. I found it powerful. I’m sure it’s been bouncing around the interconnected webs for a while, but I thought you might also enjoy it, even if you’ve already seen it before. Besides all that, I’m a little behind on posts, so this is me being lazy. Hey, everyone needs a break now and then, even Steve Harvey.

Jump and Live

info magic

For this week’s Fun Friday, I’d like to give another recommendation, one which is actually related to the Thoughtful Tuesday post this week.

I’ve listened off and on to the Note to Self podcast, which is about technology and the way we use it today. Last year, they did a fascinating series on information overload, how it affects us and how to manage it. They called it "Infomagical" (and it was most glorious).

If this is a topic of interest to you, then you should definitely, probably, totally check it out:
https://project.wnyc.org/infomagical

Oh, and they interview a bunch of experts, so you know it has to be helpful.

 

Hey Creatives, what are your methods for limiting information overload? Let us know in the comments below.

APOD

Today is my first recommend, where I share something creative I’ve been enjoying lately.

I’d like to welcome ... drum roll please. What? We don’t have any drums? Sheesh! Well, can you just kick a trashcan over or something then? Man, who is running this two-cent operation? Oh, right.

I proudly present to you:

Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

Every day, they post beautiful imagery of space and atmospheric wonders. I admit, I’ve nabbed a lot of excellent computer backgrounds from them. What’s more, each one has a stellar (pun-tastic!) write-up done by a professional, often with a dash of wit thrown in (ah, my favorite seasoning).

In recent space news, scientists just discovered a bunch of Earth-sized planets, some of which even have conditions for liquid water, all a mere 40 light-years away! Anyone up (or down, it's space, so it's all relative) for a little interstellar road trip? You can find out more on yesterday's apod.

Seriously, people check apod out, you won’t be starry you did (hyuk, hyuk).

 

Hey Creatives, do you have a favorite website you go to for inspiring images? Let us know in the comments below.