Waterlogue has turned me into an artiste!

app store imageLike the rest of us with our iPads and iPhones, I’ve loaded, deleted and forgotten many apps in the course of my ownership of said products. When the devices (or should I say vices!) were brand new I went app crazy for all kinds of games, news, productivity and even, dare I say it, educational apps, but alas most of them I just don’t use.  I find I use a dozen on a regular basis, and the rest are probably covered in cobwebs in the my virtual junk drawer.

Because of this I rarely, if ever, go trolling the app store for something new, but the other day I decided to check the ‘top charts’ and see what was shaking and low and behold I found this really great app called Waterlogue.

waterlogue It’s this really cool app that turns photos into watercolor images right before your eyes! Simply beautiful works of art that are magically painted right on your phone. It must be amazing because it actually costs money, and I still downloaded it!! 

It takes about 20 seconds (I know that long! Aren’t we all so jaded?) for the image to change from just a plain photo into a thing of beauty, so you can really see the virtual artist at work.  That’s really half the fun!

There are 13 different applications you can use to create your new image, and I’ve only really just begun experimenting, but as you can see the results are beautiful!

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Europe, It’s Just Nextdoor

Travel Between the Pages always has the greatest posts, so I had to share another one!

Travel Between The Pages

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To promote its travel services, France’s rail company SNCF placed colorful, interactive doors around Paris that allow pedestrians to experience other European cities. When the doors are opened, screens display real-time happenings in cities around the continent.

TBWA Paris, the ad agency that created the campaign writes “These interactive fun experiences not only create multicultural links among Europeans, but also enable us all to realize at the end of the day, Europe, it’s just next door.”

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Bookish.com

Three publishers have joined forces and launched a new bookish website this week appropriately entitled, Bookish.com.  Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group (USA), hope by grouping together they can become stronger, increase their web presence and give readers another outlet to discover new authors and explore the world of books.bookish.com

I registered myself today and have taken a stroll around the site. It includes interviews, recommendations, and a chance to sample and buy print and e-books from a variety of vendors. It’s a pretty nice site and if you get a chance take a look at it. They are partnering with USA TODAY, where Bookish content will be displayed on the newspaper’s web page.

I hope they succeed, because the more book content out on the web the better for us the readers! Here’s a bit about the site from CEO Ardy Khazaei,

“Bookish was created to serve as a champion of books, writers and, most importantly, readers,” Bookish CEO Ardy Khazaei said in a statement. “Ultimately, we seek to expand the overall marketplace for books, and whether a book gets into a reader’s hands via Bookish’s e-commerce partner or another retailer, everyone – from the publisher, to the retailer, the author and the reader – wins.”

2013 list of Banished Words

Michigan’s Lake Superior State University recently posted their 38th annual Banished Words List for 2013. The list was first created as a publicity stunt to get some recognition for this small university by the University’s Public Relations Director, W. T. Rabe on New Year’s Day 1976. It’s continued popularity is evident by the numerous nominations received annually and the dozens of news outlets that report about it New Year’s Day.

Here’s the 2013 list:

Fiscal Cliff ~ Kick the can down the road ~ Double Down ~ Job Creators/Creation ~ Passion/Passionate ~ YOLO (you only live once) ~ Spoiler Alert ~ Bucket List ~ Trending ~ Super Food ~ Boneless Wings ~ Guru

It’s kind of ironic that the news outlets reporting on these banished words are the reason the majority of them are on the list in the first place with Fiscal Cliff being the most overused and despised word of the bunch!  Trending is my vote for second most annoying word because of its overuse on one of my favorite TV shows, The Voice. Christina Milian’s (the sixth banana on the show) lack of verbal skills has her using this phrase way too often! She alone has made me cringe whenever I hear that word. Then there is Bucket List, an expression that I myself have overused this past year. I apologize to anyone that I’ve irritated when I’ve uttered it. The rest of the list I’ve either never heard of or never noticed enough to pester me.

There are a few words I wish I had put up for nomination, and maybe I will for 2014! The one that instantly springs to mind is Breaking News.  Has there ever been a two-word phrase that has lost all credibility and impact on U.S. news programs than this once powerful statement? Now it comes across the crawlers, on once respected news outlets like CNN, continuously announcing such Breaking News as the impregnation of a Kardashian, the arrest of some starlet or occasionally a real breaking story.

My other despised word is Vintage. Ugh, I hate this one. What once was sold in resale shops, antique stores and flea markets as junk, an antiquity or just plain old is now Vintage. I think I first began to loath it when I would be on the hunt for an old, smelly book to add to my collection and store owners would ask me if I collected ‘vintage’ books for decorating purposes. Decorating purposes!! No, I actually buy books to read, not to use them to brighten up my house, or match the color of my throw pillows. I’ve come across this book attitude quite often and thus my (obvious!) dislike of this word.  Phew, I feel better now 🙂

Do you have any words you wish you could banish?

Lake Superior State University has a complete list of past banished words on their website. It’s like a word time capsule! (and breaking news is already on there!!) Here are just a few.

Macho ~ Closure ~ Cult Classic ~ Factoid ~ Energy Crisis ~ Joe Sixpack ~ Organic ~ Wardrobe Malfunction ~ Whatsup? ~ User Friendly ~ Ripped from the Headlines

The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman

georgian gentlemanI love the accidental meeting of a reader (yours truly) and a book. Most of the time I find a title I want to read from the usual sources, a book review, a friend’s recommendation, maybe a bookstore display, but every once in a while I find a great book from a more circuitous route, ‘The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman, the Life and Times of Richard Hall 1729-1801′, is that book.

One day I was doing an internet search for blogs about London and I stumbled upon The London Historians’ blog. If you enjoy history and London in particular you must check it out. In their right hand margin, they have a list of links to other history blogs, and one of them really struck my fancy, Georgian Gentleman.

The author of the blog and the book, Mike Rendell, inherited a treasure trove of papers, diaries and journals belonging to his ancestor Richard Hall, a hosiery merchant and farmer living during Great Britain’s Georgian era. I don’t know which was more fortuitous, the fact that Richard Hall wrote down numerous lists and notes on topics as varied as household inventories and prices, to recipes and the weather or that these papers were preserved by  generations of his descendants. Truly incredible!

After enjoying Rendell’s posts I decided that I would really love to read the book that inspired the blog. Lucky for me he was traveling to the US and offered to bring some books with him and mail them to any American readers who wanted to purchase them. I was in on that offer and bought myself one for Christmas! I used my limited self-control and managed not to begin reading it until Christmas day, but it was hard not to pounce on it.

In the wrong hands this correlation of scraps of notes and jottings, journals and diaries might have been dry and boring, and only of interest to other ancestors of Richard Hall, but Rendell has managed to pull all of it together and give us a fascinating and entertaining  glimpse into life in Georgian England.

I wish I hadn’t read it so quickly! I’m just glad that the Georgian Gentleman blog is updated frequently so I can keep reading and learning more about this great period of history.

I’m going to leave you with my one of my favorite passages. It’s interesting, repulsive and kind of funny all at the same time:

“One of the risks of eating undercooked pork was the risk of ingesting worms. Tape worms could spread to the brain, causing blackouts. The risk was to rich and poor alike, and so we see Richard (Hall) copying out the tale of the physician who prescribed a particular snuff to Princess Elizabeth – ‘the second day she voided a worm from the Nose, since which the complaint has totally ceased’.”

TED talks and I’m listening

Are you familiar with TED talks? I know I wasn’t aware of them until one of the book podcasts I follow, Books on the Nightstand, mentioned them in connection with something bookish. That made the book nerd inside of me, finally look them up on the internet, and realize how much I was missing out on! TED is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design, and when the first conference was held in 1984 in Silicon Valley, those three areas were the basis for the talks and the conference, but things have changed a lot since then. TED’s scope is broader and more global now and since 2006 when free access to their videos became available online, there have been over 500 million views of these talks!

Quoting from their website, “The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). “

There really is something for everyone, and what I really appreciate is the time constraint put on the speaker. This forces them to be succinct and grab your attention quickly. Not an easy feat I’m sure, but one that forces them to make every word count.

Recently my daughter made me aware that they have an app. It worked perfectly for my last long flight up to Alaska, because I was able to download half a dozen talks and then watch them on my Ipad with no wifi connection.

One of my favorite book related talks is this one by book jacket designer Chip Kidd,

and one of the most popular talks was by author Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking,

But I think my favorite (so far) is this one by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy,

So, if you ever find yourself surfing the web and have 18 minutes or less to spare, you might just want to visit the TED site and see what they’re talking about!