Best Books: Top 100 Works of Fiction
The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Golden Notebook, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, To the Lighthouse, and 96 more! How many have you read?
Let’s Play A Game (hilarious text)
WOWWWW. Let’s just say this person would have been blocked from ever texting my phone again…LOL
En Pointe: Wikipedia Article
What it really means to “stand en pointe” in ballet.
Try to Imagine: A Life Without Timekeeping
A life without clocks…a life without worrying about time. Profound.
The Face Cat Owners See in the Morning
Yep, pretty much! LOL
Too Close to a Tornado (video)
These guys are either very brave or very silly.
Pin It Up, Girl: Swirly Updo Tutorial
This is lovely!
Tags: announcement, blog
For the next couple of weeks (until at least the week of March 15th is completed), I will not be posting any new articles besides my weekly Friday around the Web posts, which have been done well in advance. Reason: I am currently involved in an awesome musical theater project which requires lots of practice time and rehearsals, so I want to do my best by it.
I’ve been saying for months that I was ready for a new creative challenge, and this project certainly is! It’s using my musical talents in ways I never expected. Yet it still pains me to have to pause activity here for even a short while, because I’ve kept this blog up and running consistently for the last three years, never missing a day. My OCD/perfectionist bug is going batty over this, but I know y’all will appreciate seeing quality articles rather than half-thought-out adrenaline-rushed posts spewed haphazardly all over this blog. And the amazing people I’m working with will appreciate my complete focus on the music!
Crooked Glasses will begin updating with all-new posts again soon! Till then, browse through my archive of posts for new-old favorite posts, and follow my Twitter, @cg_blog, for auto-tweeted older posts. (Have I ever said how much I love auto-tweet plugins? Because I really do. Especially when they work properly. :D) Bonus: when I return, I’ll have enough new experiences to fuel a whole slew of Saturday with the Spark posts! YAY!no comments February 22nd, 2014 by Robin, in Saturday with the Spark
Tags: creativity, inspiration, motivation, music, video
This little song, “Sing,” first written for Sesame Street in the early ’70s, spawned many covers and gained lots of popularity–and for good reason! It’s one of my favorite “kid-friendly” songs because it has a great message, not only for kids, but for artists of all sorts. Check out the lyrics, below:
Sing a song
Sing out loud, sing out strong!
Sing of good things, not bad;
Sing of happy, not sad…
Sing a song
Make it simple to last your whole life long!
Don´t worry that it´s not good enough for anyone else to hear;
Sing a song!”
The bolded section above is the most important part of the song, for me. “Don’t worry that it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear; just sing.” We singers–and for that matter, all of us artists/creative people–can get so wrapped up in worrying whether our gifts are “good enough” for the world that we strangle the creativity within us. It’s hard to put aside criticism and the fear of other people’s judgments, but it’s far worse to never even be creative for your own sake. “Sing” is a simple reminder to just enjoy our creative gifts, whatever they might be, and not to worry about what other people will think of our efforts.
Do you have a favorite song, quote, etc. to inspire you when you get discouraged about your creativity? Share it with me in the comments!no comments February 21st, 2014 by Robin, in Friday around the Web
Don’t Put Your Life on Hold
We are all dying to do something…why not get out there and do it before we forget to live?
45 Amazing Facts for National Trivia Day
Did you know, for instance, that “G-mail” used to belong to the Garfield comic strip website instead of Google? Or that there was a rumor that Cookie Monster would become “Veggie Monster?” LOL
The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World (Pics)
Beautiful abandoned ruins…
Words for Emotions
A handy little image for us writers to reference while we write!
Tags: commentary, gaming, opinion
When was the last time you played a game and had fun with it?
Seems like a dumb question, but I’m quite serious. When did you last let go of trying to “achieve” stuff in a game, trying to “beat” the game, and just played?
Much of our gaming culture these days, whether we’re playing on tabletops, consoles, or even our smartphones, is about “beat this level, win this digital prize, beat the next level, finish the game,” and so on. It’s incredibly goal-driven, and that’s perfectly fine. But is that our only definition of “fun”–to work hard at defeating mental challenges? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find the work of gaming to be just that–work. When you’re grinding out levels on an MMO, or desperately seeking cheat codes or walkthroughs to get through that one pesky level, sometimes it feels more like an obligation.
In those times, I seek out games that are less goal-driven, more exploratory (and some might say “boring”). But for me, gaming is not simply about showing that I can conquer challenges; it’s about giving my brain a little rest in a virtual world. And I think this is just as valid a game experience as the highly-goal-driven stuff we’re exposed to more and more. I’ve met players who seem so immersed in the culture of “winning” that their chosen game has become like a job to them, a huge yet non-fun part of their identity–it’s hard to play against them or alongside them, because of that, but I realize that I, too, can end up taking games way too seriously as well.
Don’t get me wrong, gaming goals are great, and sometimes fun can accompany the accomplishment of those goals…but don’t let the pursuit of those goals keep you from having fun. After all, it IS just a game.no comments February 19th, 2014 by Robin, in Wednesday in the Word
Tags: bible, exodus
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Here, we see one of many times in the book of Exodus where Moses doubts whether he can fulfill all that God is asking him to do. Yet in each case, God gives Moses the abilities and knowledge he will need to tackle each new challenge. Even though Moses feels ill-equipped to be all that God asks him to be, God knows better.
As one whose tongue routinely trips all over itself and begins 5 different sentences, only to never finish any of them, I am feeling the truth of these particular verses–I, too, feel “slow of speech and tongue” sometimes. But Moses’ “Pardon your servant” line is about more than just speaking badly; Moses worries that he will fail publicly, which is more a matter of pride than anything.
We often fall into the same trap–I’m currently stuck in it myself! These two verses are stepping ALL over my toes. I, too, have told God “no” because I’m scared I can’t do it. But when we experience God moving in our hearts to do something, a divine “tug” in a particular direction, and then tell God “no, I can’t do that,” what are we actually afraid of? More often, we’re afraid of failing and humiliating ourselves–we fear losing control and looking incompetent, and/or fear that others will judge us harshly for poor performance. (Living example of that sitting right here typing this. :D)
The Lord’s reply to Moses, then, is also a reply to our fears and questions about where God is leading us. He is in control–He gave us our brains and our abilities, and He knows the whole plan where we only perceive a small portion of it. If He leads us to a new task, a new place, new people, then we must trust that He will provide what we need. We just have to allow verse 12 to serve as inspiration–we must go and do, because God will help us and teach us along the way.no comments February 18th, 2014 by Robin, in Tuesday on the Soapbox
Tags: commentary, derp, fail, humor
As a person who usually fights sleep for hours before finally closing her eyes, I’m one of the world’s worst at actually understanding when I actually need to sleep. Thus, sometimes I end up saying and doing some pretty silly things in my super-tired state, which I like to refer to as “Tired Derps.” Here’s a few gems from my experiences:
- Walking all the way to a building on my college campus, only to find out when I got there that not only was I at the wrong building, I was trying to go to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class on a Tuesday. (Remember, kids, staying up all night to finish a paper can sometimes make you a little crazy!)
- Taking off my glasses for the night, but putting them in my purse instead of on my bedside table as usual. (You can imagine the frantic flurry of searching the next morning!)
- Experiencing temporary dyslexia by reversing a couple of letters in a street name I was supposed to find. (Needless to say, I figured out my mistake pretty quickly.)
- Trying over and over again to type the word “infinite,” but constantly spelling it “inflinite”, “infinatie”, etc. (Did that while assembling yesterday’s post! LOL)
- Forgetting that a restaurant was only in Shelby, NC, and driving all the way to Forest City, NC (30 minutes in the other direction) before realizing my mistake. (SUPER herp derp!)
- Waking up from a 3-hour night’s sleep and not remembering who I was or why I had to get up at such an ungodly hour. (I did remember after about 3 or 4 minutes of concentration, LOL)
- Driving home, only to miss the turn-in to my driveway by almost exactly a mile. (…How?! ROFL)
- Hurrying out the door to Sunday school, only to realize that I forgot my keys…ran in, got my keys, left my purse; ran back in, got my purse, left my Sunday school book. (Scatterbrained much? Haha)
Have You Ever Had a “Tired Derp?”
Do you have a funny “Tired Derp” experience? Share it in the comments!no comments February 17th, 2014 by Robin, in Monday in the HTMLab
I came across the curious idea of “infinite scrolling” in the past week, as I searched for ways to make a Tumblr theme less annoying to browse. Especially on blog sites like Tumblr, the idea of having no page numbers to click has caught on as a way to make browsing easier–new posts and search results pop up without having to click or tap again.
Google’s Image Search and Pinterest both famously do this, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and 9gag–and those are just the websites I use most often that have infinite scrolling enabled. It’s becoming more and more popular with mobile-friendly sites especially, since scrolling on a mobile device is as simple as the flick of a finger. But I wondered whether it was really worthwhile. Should I dedicate time to learning this technique and using it on my pages, just because it’s Internet-popular?
I decided the best way to test it was to approach infinite scrolling as a user would, rather than as a designer. Read on to find out pros and cons, which sites can use infinite scrolling, and how best to style and set up your infinite scrolling layout!
Infinite Scrolling: Pros and Cons from My Experience
Where Infinite Scrolling Works Best (and Worst)
If you have a website with quick blurbs of content and images, where links don’t take you out of the “stream” of information, infinite scrolling works well. This is great for news sites and some blogs–and I can see why it’s become popular with Tumblr themes, too. When you’ve got lots of posts with just a few images, a quote, or a short paragraph, infinite scrolling saves your user a lot of clicks.
But if you’ve got a website with a lot of links or in-depth content, such as this very blog you’re reading right now, infinite scrolling is definitely not your friend. Users will have a hard time searching your site for information, and every time they click to “read more,” they end up at the top of the page–very frustrating! Infinite scrolling on sites with fewer but longer posts (and/or more links to external content) doesn’t work nearly so well.
If You’re Going to Use Infinite Scrolling…
- Make sure your posts are tagged thoroughly so that once people find one post they like, they can use its tags to find other similar posts on your site. (Example: an LOLcat picture could be tagged with “lolcat”, “cats”, “humor”, and “meme”.)
- Use CSS to design your posts so that each one stands out on the page–make your posts’ headlines big and bold, surround each of them with a differently-colored “box” from the background. Anything you can do to separate out individual posts while people browse will help them navigate better!
- Make your navigation either stick to the top of the page or scroll in a fixed position alongside the content. Infinite scrolling where navigation is only found at the top of the page = NOT a great idea, at all.
- Give your users a separate “tag list” page where they can quickly scan through and see what kinds of posts you have on your site. That way, they don’t have to waste time scanning through your post stream to find things they like.
For Further Reading
jQuery4U: 5 jQuery Infinite Scrolling Demos
Awwwards: Best Infinite Scroll Websites
NNGroup: Infinite Scrolling is Not for Every Website
SmashingMagazine: Infinite Scrolling–Let’s Get to the Bottom of This
Tags: creativity, redo
This post about my creative Muse just got about 90% better with all my revising. Read on to find out how my muse frustrates and helps me (often in the same moment!).no comments