Well this is soothing... Take six minutes and let your mind wander a bit.
I have read a bunch of bad books lately. Or just mediocre ones. I'm not too excited about any of the four I'm currently reading, either. I checked my recent reviews, and of the last 17 books I've read, I have only really been impressed by one. Steinbeck knows his stuff. But I already knew that.
The book 18 books ago that impressed me was Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel and Trina Schart Hyman. But it's a Caldecott Honor Book, so there's that.
I'll tell you what has impressed me book-wise lately (though it's not a book at all):
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
I saw this little charmer quite a while before it won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. It was free on the internet back then (this post was in draft mode, with the embedded video, but now that it has won the Oscar, the video is no longer embeddable). Now you can download it for $1.99. I promise you, it's worth your time and money. You can't tell from the trailer, but it's a really sweet story. Plus, it won an Oscar, so there's that.
Does this mean I just need to stick to award winners?
Don't worry, I have literally hundreds of books in my house I can read. Plus, you know, a library card. So it's not about not having something great available to read, I just haven't chosen wisely lately. I'm due, though. Time to go pick.
Japan's been on my mind. More so, I think, than other natural disasters that receive worldwide attention. This video is what made it real for me.
At first, it just looks like a bit of water in the streets. In the first few seconds, you even see someone driving away. Watch the entire video; what you see at the beginning is nothing compared to what you see at the very end. Did that first van driving away make it? I hope so.
Jarbus Agneli: Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electric wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes (no Photoshop edit). I knew it wasn't the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.
I sent the music to the photographer, Paulo Pinto, who I Googled on the internet. He told his editor, who told a reporter and the story ended up as an interview in the very same newspaper.
Here I've posted a short video made with the photo, the music and the score (composed by the birds).
Also check my live presentation of Birds on the Wires at TEDx São Paulo: tedxsaopaulo.com.br/jarbas-agnelli/
Music made with Logic.
Video made with After Effects.
An interview about this and other works: biginterview.org/
A brilliant project, put together by an English teacher at a Toronto High School, resulted in this moving video. Students sing pieces of Obama's inspirational inauguration speech, and remind us, of course, of Hope. This line always gets me: "A man whose father, less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant, can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."
The East has been slammed with crazy weather recently, and while the "snowpocalypse" of 2010 has shut many doors and caused many inconveniences, it has opened many others. What better way to share moments with one's community than to play outside for a while?
This video is downright charming. My favorite part is the sign about team sports on the growing grass. Well executed, Nathan Golon and Jordan Gantz, well executed.
Taylor Mali is a brilliant slam poet. I just rediscovered this bit of his, and I know it holds true as I watch amazing teachers do what they do best every day.
This video requires careful watching and listening. The depressing picture painted on the way down is precisely the reverse of the optimistic picture painted on the way back up. There are always at least two ways to see the world. Which will you choose? (...you may want to watch this twice...)