Even though …

my wife is a Boston Red Sox fan, I still love her (we have a bit of a Yankees-Red Sox rivalry here in our house, in case that is not obvious.) I forgive her because she is such a wonderful mother and friend and wife. Plus, it helps that the Yankees are kicking some Red Sox butt this year.

Peace (in the comic world),


Making Fun of It: An App for That

A few weeks ago, I wrote up this skit, thinking it might be something we could do for the staff act at our school’s Talent Show. It didn’t work. It is too long, a bit too complicated, younger kids would have been confused .. and I had a conflict that night (compounded by my son being sick).

Still, I like the skit (and wonder if I could turn it into a comic somehow?), which pokes fun at the development of Apps for education. It’s called An App for That.

An App for That

Peace (in the play),

3D Picture Book Experiment w/Zooburst

I saw this new site — Zooburst — somewhere or another, and given that my student teacher is right now doing pop-up poetry books, I was intrigued. The site is still in beta and they are only allowing new memberships on a vetted basis, I think, but you can make 3D pop-up books. Sounds strange, right?
There are are few levels going on here, including using your webcam and a special printout that allows you to view your picture book on your hand (!), but check out what I have embedded as an example of a picture book from the site — this is my first book called The Writer Within.

(Hmm – the embed code was too big and when I shrunk it down, I seem to have lost the controls to move to the next pages. There’s just a bit of the arrows on the left and right side. See them? Click on them. If not, go HERE to read the book).

But here is where the site is fascinating — if you print out the special image they provide (branded with their logo, of course), and hold it up to your webcam, you get to “see” your 3D book come alive in the webcam window. I’m not sure how to explain it. I was hooked, though. And ZooBurst wisely has a button that will take a screenshot of you and your book, together, and email it to you as a jpeg. How cool is that? Wicked cool, man.

Peace (in 3D),

PS — If you are wondering how a teacher finds time during the day to do this, I am home with a sick kid. I tried to get him to try it, but he wasn’t all that interested right now. Too busy being a sick pre-teen, I guess. But he did come over when the webcam kicked in and stared at it with me.

Reflecting on Writing Books with Storybird

I’ve been thinking of my writing process when it comes to using Storybird for creating my 7 picture books in 7 days, as part of Paula Yoo’s challenge. Honestly, I could not have even considered this challenge if I had to do the art, and my hats go off to anyone who has been able to keep the pace. Even Paula has been reflecting on the challenge of the challenge.

I decided early on to use Storybird, which provides you with illustrations and a book-creator tool. You write the story, constructed out of the images at the site. There is a wide selection of art, and styles. The end result is an e-book that you can embed in other sites as well as become part of the Storybird community.

I purposely went into each day with no story idea whatsoever. None. I really wanted to find a story as I discovered the illustrations, which is an odd way of going about writing a book, if you think about it. Mostly, we write stories from idea that germinate in our minds or come from characters that start to live a bit in our imagination.

I avoided that. Purposely. I felt as if I were backing in, using some sort of reverse writing.

I would wander around the Storybird collections, trying to find some art that piqued my interest and then I would slowly formulate a story idea. A lot of times, it was nothing but dead ends. The story didn’t always hold or gel. I tried not to think of audience, either, which is another no-no for writing stories, right? We are often told to keep our intended audience in front of us. Here, I kept the audience behind me and only at the end, when Storybird prompted me, did I even think about who my story might be a appropriate for.

The result is a series of hits and misses this week.

I really liked the first book — MoonSong — and I enjoyed the one about a girl dreaming of her future — Remember — but wished I had done a better job with another — To Dance is To Disappear (I couldn’t find the right rhythm consistent with what I was trying to convey about the creative process of dancing) — and I thought two of the books to be too cute with not enough substance — The Best Ice Cream in the Galaxy and Go Outside and Play! — while another one tried to teach a lesson but got too bogged down on me — The Boy with the Angry Stomach (although I did have fun with “voice” in that one, particularly the talking piece of bread and the invisible audience of listeners).

One of my stories completely and utterly derailed itself midway through. It was an odd one about a girl who has been shipwrecked, and is now all alone, but is discovered by the forest animals who lead her to a house situated on top of a mountain. That’s as far as I got because none of the illustrations led me any farther into my story narrative and I could not for the life of me figure out how to get this girl moving forward in any feasible direction of the narrative. Here, instead of being inspired by the art, I was held back, and the story died in the draft bin.

All in all, it was fun to do this challenge, but it was a challenge. I have one more book in the bin for tomorrow, the seventh day. It’s no award winner. It’s about how to write a story. Come back tomorrow and check it out, if you have a minute.

Peace (in the reflection),


Picture Book 6: Go Outside and Play!

I saw one of the illustrations in this set in Storybird and thought: that was so me as a kid — reading books, oblivious to the world. And my mom or dad would tell me to get outside and play. Inspired, then, I created this picture book story as part of a challenge by Paula Yoo to come up with seven books in seven days.

This is Go Outside and Play!

Go Outside and Play! on Storybird
Peace (in the imagination),

Recording a Song, layer by layer

A few weeks ago, I shared out a new song that I was working on. It’s called Ease Your Mind.

Listen to demo

This weekend, I went over to my friend’s house, where he has set up his Mac and Garageband to try his hand at audio recording. Together, we started to record this song. I brought along my flip camera, as I am interested in capturing the creative process. We worked on the acoustic guitar, and then put on some bass and organ, and tried to find a decent synth horn sound, but failed miserably.

I also wanted to use my school Macbook for video editing, and so yesterday, I found some time to move the footage off the flip and into the Mac, and I worked for a spell with iMovie. It is pretty intuitive to use and the flip integrated quite nicely with the Mac. I liked that I could import not as HD but as a regular size video, but the audio quality was still pretty decent.

Peace (in the sharing),