A Useful Alternative to Getting the News

Read 530 Front Pages at Newseum.org
Read 530 Front Pages at Newseum.org
Happy New Year!

And Happy News Year?

I hardly watched the news yesterday and I noticed how much calmer I felt. Maybe I was also affected by my runny nose and the desire to relax because my body said so. I had a rather anti-social New Year’s Eve and I loved it.

News watching has been a habit from childhood. My father would watch the ten o’clock news every single night and then go to sleep. Like clockwork.
Every morning he would read the newspaper. Like clockwork.

Newsweek, Time and Life magazines plus the daily newspaper, and watching the news were my predominant news sources growing up. That’s before the days of cell phones and the Internet.

My current habit is to surf the web a few minutes in the morning and see what’s in the headlines.

I remember sitting in on a news reporting class in the journalism department of a local community college. The professor said what’s news is what’s reported. And think about it, think about what gets reported because reporters want to go there.

Maybe that’s why famines don’t get as much coverage as a story about a baby seal biting a swimmer in San Francisco.

This concept has stuck with me and has made me more interested in finding news through bloggers and resources other than mainstream reporting services.

However, I have a desire this new year to cut back on watching the news.

Instead of spending that half hour being teased to stay tuned to hear the latest devastation and “breaking” news, including the most dramatic videos that might tantalize my eyeballs for 9 to 900 nanoseconds, I’m ready to begin a new habit.

I’m willing to try any number of experiments. This new year I’ll start with going regularly to a website I heard about in journalism class with Jon Rochmis at City College of San Francisco.

On this site you can read the front pages of hundreds of different newspapers (779 today)!

This is like finding a fresh water lake in the desert!

I am fascinated by the differences in foci of the various publications and what they choose to report.

Within five minutes of reading I can be more informed than five minutes of news watching. Here you can see what’s making headlines from Austin, Texas to Montevideo, Uruguay to Khartoum, Sudan!

The list of papers available at Newseum.org is here: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/?tfp_display=list

To really bliss out on newspaper headlines go to Today’s Front Pages at Newseum.org at: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/

Today, I just glanced at the front page of the Modesto Bee, and a new law going into effect January 1 2018 in California that prohibits the legality of any potential employer requiring the disclosure of what their wages were at a previous job. An applicant can provide it voluntarily though. Once a job offer has been made, however, the prospective employer is allowed to do a background check. (Wow, in just half a minute’s glance at this front page I learned something helpful!)

I’m excited about this new year and the challenge to shift the use of this thirty minute slot.

I’m eager to transform an old habit.

And I’m open and receptive to having a miraculous year.

I wish that for you too and may you find news that fuels your needs!

P.S. When viewing one front page (at Newseum.org) you can scroll to the next one or go to the previous front page by using the prompts in the upper right corner.

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New Apps for Storyboarding and Selfies

"Murphy and Mary," A Sequence Photographed by Mary Gow Using the Selfissimo App.
“Murphy and Mary,” A Sequence Photographed by Mary Gow Using the Selfissimo App.
At some point every day I review the day’s headlines for about five minutes, surfing the web.

From this habit I find something that peeks my attention and inevitably I take notes in my Evernote.

A recent find is well worth sharing!

Google is offering 3 new apps for free including one that allow styling of videos into comic strips. Wow!

This I found out from the article headlined with: “NEW GOOGLE APPS STYLIZE VIDEOS INTO COMIC STRIPS, NIFTY LOOPS,” written by Michael Kan, Dec. 11, 2017 for PC Magazine.*

“On Monday, the company unveiled three new imaging apps that leverage some experimental technology Google has been playing with. Google is calling the software “appsperiments,” which tap into the power of smartphone cameras and computer vision algorithms that can identify objects in a picture.”

THE FIRST APP: STORYBOARD

The first app called Storyboard is available only on Android phones. Your video will be converted into a single-page comic strip.
“The app automatically selects interesting video frames, lays them out, and applies one of six visual styles,” Google said.

THE SECOND APP: SELFISSIMO!

The second app is available on Android and iOS phones. It’ll snap selfies in black and white. The camera will flash when it detects that you’ve stopped moving.

THE THIRD APP: SCRUBBIES

The third app is only available on iOS. This app allows you to go over a video once it’s been shot and pick parts you wish to dramatize by slowing down the play rate.

“Shoot a video in the app and then remix it by scratching it like a DJ,” the company said.

The video can then play in a loop.

CONCLUSION

We’re living in an incredibly creatively expansive time. The ability to create storyboards using your phone, have your own photo shoot in black and white, create looping videos that can dramatize effects that used to be only available to those with sophisticated equipment.

Now all of this is available with what we carry in our purses and pockets.

These amazing smart phones get smarter every passing day.

Still there’s no replacement for the imagination needed to utilize these tools.

There’s only one YOU in the whole Universe who can create the way you do.

*Source: https://www.pcmag.com/news/357890/new-google-apps-stylize-videos-into-comic-strips-nifty-loop

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Discovering a New Kind of Zen

"Serenity Mountain," watercolor by Mary Gow
“Serenity Mountain,” watercolor by Mary Gow

A few days ago, on a whim I decided to bring this painting to the monthly competition of an art club I’m in. It won Third Place.

The following day I found out a photo I submitted to Forum Magazine, a literary journal at City College of San Francisco, was selected for their Fall 2017 edition!

For over two years I’ve been painting almost every single day. I’m noticing some creative shifts by honoring the practice of creating on a regular basis.

Thank you for coming back to read this if you’re a fan of my blog. I appreciate that you’re here.

I’d like to say it doesn’t matter if I win awards or not. I’m not creating in order to win them. In fact my indifference to them makes me wonder if I have a big enough ego to be an “artist.”

It’s not essential that my work appear in museums either.

What matters to me is that my work bring a bit of Light to the world. That what I write/create inspires you or touches you in a way that uplifts you.

When I paint I often have no intent and just being, not preplanning anything. I literally go with the flow, as I did when I created this painting.

I’ve been falling in love with watercolor more and more each day.

The medium is spontaneous. Unlike acrylics, I can’t keep changing it.

I love the time element with watercolors that dry so quickly I cannot ruminate over any placement, any stroke, any color. I must trust my gut. (This is not to say there’s anything “wrong” with methodical plotted out paintings. It’s simply not my style).

Watercolor is easy to paint with, easy to transport, easy to clean up.

Keep the brush moving.

I go with the flow.

Living in the moment.

I’m embracing the Zen of watercolors!

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M.E. Wilcox Pays Homage to Her Sister

M.E. Wilcox is a studio artist and arts educator based in Dallas. Below enjoy an art piece she created to celebrate her sister, Joanna. It’s on view at the Dia de los Muertos: The Path of Winged Souls show at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas from Oct. 14 to Nov. 11.

Congratulations, M.E., on a beautiful honoring of your sister.

M.E. Wilcox Dedicated to My Beloved Sister Joanna
M.E. Wilcox’s “Dedicated to My Beloved Sister Joanna,” mixed media
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