ūüéľAll Around Me Are Familiar Faces, Worn Out Places, Worn Out Facesūüé∂…

Hello Gentle Reader,

I hope this finds you well.

Wow, talk about March Madness! I have been trying to wrap my head around the senseless deaths that are plaguing the world. First there was Sarah Everard’s shocking murder. What this brought up was the fact that women are still justifiably living in fear and worry. Hearing an old friend’s confession of how many times men have forced themselves on her was heartbreaking.

Then came the Atlanta hate crime. A terrorist attack on 3 different spas where 8 people were murdered. This world lost Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, because of the fragile white male ego. Yes, I said Hate Crime and Terrorist.

I have no words on the why’s and who’s. There are plenty of brilliantly put words all over social media by others with a better grasp on the situation.

So, Kind Reader, I would like to ask for your thoughts on this idea…

Arts classes (ANY OF THEM) teach people how to express themselves in a constructive way. This is why I think they are imperative to early education, but not just elementary schools. They should be mandatory throughout an educational career. They should not be electives, or viewed as a throwaway class. They should be held in as high regard as sports.

Dear Reader, why do people argue that sports teaches self esteem, teamwork, and leadership as if that is the only way to learn this? To this I say two things: 1. You have never been a part of a production, huh? 2. Sports has limited chances to teach leadership, usually isn’t it only the captains or star players?

So a big poo poo to that belief.

Music classes have been proven to enhance math and language skills resulting in higher test scores. Photography classes teach one observance and inspires self esteem as well as stress relief. Art classes promote physical and psychological wellbeing. In some, it can help with fine motor skills or improve cognitive functions. Dance class teaches discipline, self expression, boosts cognitive function, physical health, and boosts mood.

Speaking from my own experience in theatre classes, I can say for certain that theatre has taught me empathy for others INCLUDING THOSE OF DIFFERING CULTURES, controlling my own emotions, thinking quickly on my feet, improvising as well as some of the same things the other Arts classes offer. As far as teamwork goes, when you work on a production, any person in the show is a teammate. You are all working together toward a common goal, just like in any sport. When it comes to leadership opportunities, you have a slew of leaders: director, set designer, stage manager, master carpenter, lighting designer, costumer/designer, and producer just for plays. If it is a musical, add choreographer, dance captain, music director, vocal director not to mention the possiblity of assistants. All of those people are leaders in their area that are AGAIN working as a team toward the same goal. The end result of that goal, heck even the smaller tasks completed throughout the process, result in accomplishments that foster self esteem.

With all that being said, I will repeat: Arts classes should be mandatory throughout a person’s educational career. I can’t help but to wonder about my certainty that the world would be a better place already if this were being done. I honestly do not think I am wrong about it. That being said, I am not foolish enough to believe that it would solve all of the world’s problems. But I bet it would help…

Thank you, Gentle Reader, for once again letting me bend your ear. Do you think sports should be more important than the Arts? Can you help me understand why? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, stay safe and alert as well as kind. Check in on your friends, especially those of AAPI and BIPOC backgrounds.

Be an ally.

Inspiration or Insanity…

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Image taken on 4/13/14

I have been called crazy probably a million times.

Lemme ask you something.   Is it crazy to look for ideas from the world around me?  For example, the picture above is actually a white strip in a parking lot that marked the spot that I parked in.  Upon opening the door, I looked down immediately and saw this.   I know most people will see random grey and white markings and not much else. To me, it looks like a cosmic notice calling out.  I can see my name.  Well, at least the first 3 letters.  What are the odds that I was just about to put my foot on this exact spot as I got out of my car.

This is how I see the world.  Check out this:

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Image taken on 8/14/10

This image I took in the parking structure of the Santa Clara Library.  It is simply a tire smudge on a column.  I see a Native American tribal elder.

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Image taken on 5/12/12

I call this one a Crystal Skull.  I got this image when I was closing a window one day.  This is just a reflection off the glass, but it freaked me out a little.  I know that our brains are  hard wired to look for patterns.  Facial patterns are usually the easiest ones to recognize. I find a ton of them in the dots on our bathroom floor.

I don’t like to think of myself as crazy, though I can see why people would use that word. I know that my imagination is always working. ¬†Sometimes it is a curse when I can’t turn it off at night. ¬†I like my skewed view of the world and even though I see a lot of dark things like this image above, I try to always focus on the fun and happy things.

Goofy things are the best kind of things and they always seem to find me. ¬†I call the next one “red Wilson” ¬†Hahahahaha.

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Image taken on 4/14/14

I never thought I would find a use for any of these pics aside from the first one, but it was nice to dig back in my photos to see this pattern emerge.

I look at the world and see things all the time that I glean ideas from.  The smallest things like  a steady stream of cars  driving over a grate give me the beginnings of a beat for music which I usually forget before I can get to a computer.  I will see the way a vine trails up a stake and seek to place that motion into a dance step.

Somewhere in my “insanity” I find my inspiration.

How do you get inspired? Nature hikes?  Those are fun, too.

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Flowers never looked so good!    Calling all you non-professional photogs out there!!

Could you use a little cash? Of course you could. ¬†I mean, who couldn’t nowadays, right? ¬†Then I think I may have a fun way to earn it! And it’s kinda easy…

Yamagami’s Nursery is having a contest for the best picture of ¬†flowers.

The contest is basically three stages.

Stage 1: You have until June 26th to upload your best image to the Yamagami’s Photo Contest Page by submitting them to:¬†Flowers@YNurseryNews.com. ¬†You may upload only three submissions. ¬†It could be close-ups of the flower or a wide angle shot of a display of them, just as long as they are the focal point of the image. ¬†Keep in mind, there may be a brief delay getting you pictures to the proper page, so get them in at least three days before the deadline.

Stage 2: Beginning June 27th and thru July 23rd, the public will begin to vote on which images they like the best. ¬†You can find the competing images HERE.¬†¬†¬†There are some amazing images. ¬†However, don’t let that discourage you from putting your best foot into the contest. ¬†Just as nature’s created millions and millions of beautiful images, your creativity and uniqueness can capture something that most people have never seen. ¬†Challenge yourself to see beyond the stunning colors and the brilliance in the patterns. ¬†The top ten images will then be submitted to a panel of judges who will then award the cash prizes.

Step 3: Beginning August 18th, you can view the images when you stop on by the nursery as they will be on display. ¬†On August 27, Yamagami’s will host an awards show and the prizes for the Top 3 will be given to the photographers with the best images. ¬†All of the Top Ten finalists will receive a small Yamagami’s Nursery gift certificate.

Please read the complete detailed rules before entering and best of luck to all you picture snapping photogs out there.

Sadly, employees of Yamagami’s and their families are not eligible to enter.

Here are a couple of my fave nature shots that I’ve taken. ¬†What do you love to capture with the lens? ¬†Share where do you like to go for that inspiration?