Creativity in a Touch-Screen World

The first time Delilah crawled it was to get my iPhone. No joke. Even before that she seemed interested so we would let her play with certain apps, taking video of herself, creating drawings, creating sounds etc.

A few days ago I was sitting at my computer doing something with our Taxes when Rachel brought her in for me to watch for a few minutes. As I set her on my lap she immediately reached for the keyboard. Not to ever stifle creativity, I tossed up Notepad and let her at it. She struggled for a few minutes and tapped a few keys and eventually ended up with this:

1 ` 1Q IYXZJG  nm hnmws SDEWQIOJHI9

Not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination.  But what got me was that a few years ago this would have been her limit.  Keyboard and mouse interactivity is something that takes a while to develop and at 6-9months she just wouldn’t have the skills to do manipulate our archaic input devices.

Not so, any more.  The following works were all created by Delilah on my iPad in the Kid Paint app:

Artistic masterpieces? No.

Impressive for a 6-9mo old? Hell yes
(Note: some help from me to pick colors and utensils and to restart the app when she accidentally closed it, but that’s it.)

Additionally, she’s composed some music using Beatwave: Beatwave Music Composition

If you don’t have it,
Get Beatwave on iTunes (FREE!)

Would any of this have been possible 5 years ago? Maybe, if you had a million dollars worth of touch screen equipment. She did this with a $500 1.5lb device. I think the age of the Dynabook has arrived.

Man the future is gonna be crazy. I can’t wait till she’s teaching me this stuff.

We Miss You Randy

I’m sure this isn’t the post anyone checking our blog is waiting for at the moment (sorry about that). However; It’s important to me, and I needed to post it.

9 Years ago Yesterday (Monday May 17th 2001) Marion NY lost one of its most beloved young men: Randy Miller. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that close with him in the later years of our shared educational experience, but we were both perfectly friendly with each other. We simply shared different groups of friends. I do remember during the last few years of high school we would share a ritual almost every morning, and when I think of it now it still makes me smile.

“Morning Randy”
*nod*
“Morning Randy”
*nod*

When he first passed, it hit the whole town hard. I’ve never seen so many people show up in support of the loss of a loved one. The largest church in Marion was standing room only and overflowed into the stairwell and parking lot. Everyone felt it because it was so shockingly sudden and happened in such a horrific & terrifying way while during such a noble act.

The toughest fact to swallow is that Randy drowned while trying to save his friends who weren’t as strong of swimmers. Honestly, I can’t think about that without tearing up a little bit. I can’t think of anyone else I know that would put themselves last in such a way.

While Randy died young, he certainly didn’t leave this world without a lasting imprint. Until his mother recently started posting on Facebook I had totally forgotten he was so into poetry. He’s been published by the International Library of Poetry twice! I also remember him getting some of them in the local Marion/School publications. For being so young, he certainly had a deep outlook on life. This is one of my favorite poems which I stole from his Facebook page:

A Path

a crooked man walks a straight path,
a path of hopes and dreams.
he walks ahead without thinking twice or so it seems.
as he walks the path he proceeds to
his final destination without once falling through.
yet as he completes his journey, this voyage of his,
he knows the importance was not the things he didn’t do,
but the things he did.

-Randy Miller

I don’t know why but I get much more sensitive about the whole thing now than I did back then. Back when it happened, it just felt like a terrible thing that happened to someone I knew. For some reason now it hits me hard this time of year and this year harder than it has in the past. Maybe that’s just me imposing my own mortality on the past because of our little one on the way? I don’t know.

I hope some day I’ll be half the man Randy Miller was at the age of 19.

Seattle

Fruit at Pikes PlaceWednesday was our first day in Seattle and what a fun packed day it was!

We started off by heading to Pikes Place (of course).  Wow! Their market rocks!  the OMG Peach truly does make you say ‘Oh My God’ and the fish do really fly overhead.  Walking into the building Rachel’s jaw dropped as she saw miles upon miles of flowers at rock bottom prices.

Seattle Space NeedleFrom pikes we headed to the next obvious choice, the Space Needle.  For the middle of the day on a Wednesday it seemed pretty busy, we waited in line for about 20 minutes while reading all about the City Pass.  It turns out to be a pretty good deal so we signed on.

The view from the top was amazing.  Mount Rainier was out and completely visible which we hear only happens about 100 days of the year.  Mount Rainier seemed even more impressive over Seattle than Mount Hood does over Portland.

The Science Fiction Museum was awesome (except for the lack of Firefly/Serenity paraphenaila).  Upon arrival we saw a sign for the Jim Henson exhibit which was only in town for a short period of time and Rachel’s eyes got wider than I’d ever seen before.  We learned a lot and saw a lot of cool Science Fiction effects.  My favorite was obviously the Star Wars junk but Rachel’s was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume.  I have no doubt in my mind that Matt‘s would be the real Enterprise D used in production of Next Generation.

Rainier over SeattleAdmission to the Science Fiction Museum includes admission to the Experience Music Project and so of course we went.  The Jimi Hendrix exhibit there was awesome and informative.  I loved his music before but I had no idea Jimi was so innovative.  One of the most interesting things I learned was about how his long drawn out notes were actually feedback which he could control with a custom built foot petal.

We ended the day with another trip up the Space Needle to see the sunset and the city at night.  It was very beautiful.  I especially enjoyed watching the colors wash over Rainier as it dissapeared and the sun dipped over the horizon.

Julia Nunes and Ben Folds

We mentioned before that we saw Julia Nunes at the Ben Folds concert we attended.  Her performance was awesome, especially since we had no clue she was going to be part of it and I knew her from Youtube.  She finally posted a video of her performance, and while the quality isn’t very good it portrays the show perfectly.  About 5:20 into the video you’ll get to see Ben playing the drums for Julia which was completely unexpected and awesome.  She was totally clueless which made it even better.

In other news, we might be going to the 2009 Block Party with Ben Folds this Sunday.

Like a RockStar

CassandraMy niece sings karaoke every Friday at the VFW in Newark NY.  She’s been doing it for a while now.

Friday night Rachel and I went out to see for ourselves and I’m proud to say she has quite the voice.  She started with some Evanescence, then rocked out to some Sublime and No Doubt and a few others. All of which she nailed with the exception of some song she didn’t know and thus fumbled through with her friend.

The karaoke at the VFW was a much better setup than I expected.  The patrons even more so.  There were a few people that essentially owned the karaoke machine.  Then there were a few others which subjected us all to throaty renditions of Wonderwall and off key versions of Living on a Prayer.

Overall an extremely fun and entertaining evening.

The Passion of Ben

Watching anyone that is passionate about what they’re doing is both exciting and rewarding.

At the last minute Rachel and I were able to get Tickets to the Ben Folds Show at the Waterstreet Music Hall last week.  During the show it became clear that Ben thoroughly enjoys his music and his shows.  He played some of the most energetic piano for over 2 hours and when he finally went off stage he shook his hands and you could tell he was exhausted.  Even so, as all bands do, he came back for an encore and rocked the house again.

Needless to say the show was incredible.  Everything was amazing from the opener, a band I’d not previously heard of called “Jukebox the Ghost“, to “The midnight Ramblers” (an acappella group from The University of Rochester) to Julia Nunes (a famous ukalele YouTuber from Rochester NY).  The only music we really knew was the older stuff from Ben Folds Five but it didn’t really matter, The place was alive and it was a blast.

Unfortunately all I had with me was my iPhone camera so It was difficult to capture the moment with any clarity.

I’ll remember the show forever even without the pictures.  That’s what Passion does.