Creativity And Creative Friends

A while ago I found myself watching a lot of Vine compilations on YouTube. Like, a lot. They’re addicting and so stupidly funny.

I noticed that there are, for the most part, two types of Vines: those that are staged, scripted, and acted, and those that are filmed on the spot. And I realized that for both of these types, the Viners need a certain level of creativity. Levels that I don’t know I’ve seen in real life.

The people who stage Vines need to come up with the idea, they need to consider angles and timing, sometimes get other people involved, and then actually take the time to make it. What’s it like to have a friend come to you and say “Yo I have a Vine idea I need help with”? No one I knew made Vines with any dedication.

The people who happen to film stuff on the spot must always be filming in hopes to catch something good. They must always have their phone out, recording conversations and jokes and anything that happens. Not only do I not know anyone like that either, but I can’t even imagine doing it myself. Do the people around them think it’s weird that they’re always being recorded? And what do the people do with all the footage?

Creativity is a gift. I like to think I’m fairly creative because I have this blog and continuously produce content, but I don’t know how mind-blowingly original any of this stuff is. And I’m definitely not always thinking of new ideas or thinking of ways to improve. A lot of the times, my post process is something like crap, I should be posting in a few days and I have nothing ready. Okay, what half-developed idea can I build up? As weird and unprofessional as that sounds, at least it’s something, right? At least I’m producing something and I like it. A lot of people don’t do anything creative. No videos, no art, no writing, no anything. How do they live? Do they not have urges to be creative ever? Or are they creative in ways I/the public don’t see/appreciate?

When I starting thinking about creativity, I started then thinking about my friends. Do I have creative friends? I have a few friends who used to vlog and a few that do some occasional writing. I have one friend who started a small jewelry business. I have another who’s a great artist but doesn’t often show art off. I’d love to have more creative friends. I’d love to have friends who want to build things and do things and have fun while doing it. How does one find people like this? And how does one be more creative in their own life?

A man yelling 'tell me how'

Bloggers, for all that they are, are pretty creative people, and being in the blogosphere, even from the outskirts, has really shown me how great it is to be around a supportive, creative environment.

Anyway, this is just some late night rambles about creativity and what it means to have creative people in your life. Personally, I’d like to be more creative, and I think I want to work on that. I don’t know how or what, but I do sometimes have urges to create, and I think I need to see that through. Creative people probably flock together.

If you’re looking for a sign or something to tell you to keep being creative, this is it!

So I ask you: how are you creative, and how do you stand out amongst the others?

a painter painting

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Why The Sport Of Curling Is One You Need To Be Watching

It has come to my attention that the sport of curling is extremely underappreciated. The Winter Olympics are in full swing and since its start this year I have talked to multiple people who all expressed something along the lines of Curling? Lame. No, you know what’s lame? Sleeping on this amazing sport.

Dos Equos meme curling version

I played curling for many years growing up. My dad’s side of the family is really into curling, so I started in grade three and played until grade seven or eight. In the neighboring city, there’s a trophy with my name on it, the highlight of my career. I stopped playing for two reasons. One, I wasn’t in love with the sport, and two, I got too old for the fun and organized kids program and the next level program was kind of a mess. But I still liked the sport, and when a team formed in my senior year of high school, I jumped at the chance to join. Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, I’m Canadian. But the sport isn’t unique to Canada; we’re just good at it. It actually originated in Scotland.

Though you don’t need to have a history or location like mine to enjoy the sport too. Sure, it helps a little (my roommate from Saudi Arabia was very surprised to learn that they don’t play on skates), but curling is one of the few Olympic sports that’s very easy to understand just from watching.

First of all, the concept is simple: get as many of your team’s rocks as close to the center of the target as possible by throwing them down the ice. That’s it. Unlike figure skating or skiing, there’s no need for judges or complicated scoring systems because what you see is what you get. The sweeping reduces friction to help the rock move and the iconic yelling to the sweepers of “HARD! HARD! YUP! WOAH! OFF! YUP! YUP” is for dramatics, really. The sport is called curling because the rocks spin and curl along the ice as they travel, and controlling that is the key to making good shots. There are four players per team and they all shoot two rocks, taking turns. Of course, there are several other little rules and terms, but you don’t need them to enjoy watching, and if you’re ever curious, Google is there for you.

the good stuff gif

The great thing about watching curling is that it allows for thinking. You’re not mindless watching, you’re thinking and critiquing and evaluating. When watching luge or skeleton, all you’re doing is watching them slide. You as a viewer can’t really discern skill or tactics. And in sports like hockey or slalom skiing, the sport usually goes too fast to really think about what could have or should have happened. And in sports like figure skating, often it can be hard to tell what’s good from what’s great. So many times I’ll say “oh, that routine was great, they got top three for sure” to then have the skater get in sixth or something. But curling? Curling is slow enough for you to look at the moves and the players’ skills and decide what’s a good call and what’s a doable shot as the players decide too. And though it’s slow enough to do this, the game does move quickly and rarely drags on, making it a perfect mix of excitement. This is why it’s one of the best sports to watch.

Plus, it’s cool! (And that is not an ice joke!). Seeing these players with incredible accuracy make these incredible shots is so amazing. They make it look so easy and effortless and majestic, but let me tell you as someone who’s played, the players in the Olympics, like in any sport, are ridiculously talented. Sometimes the house (the target) will be so cluttered and congested, and then in comes one rock to perfectly clean out one colour with the most jaw-dropping of angles.

good curling shot

If you haven’t watched a curling match this Olympics, be sure to catch one before it ends because it really is a unique and interesting sport, and it definitely needs more love.

And if you can, consider trying the sport for real! There are curling clubs all over, so look one up if you’re looking for a new hobby. Here are a few reasons why curling is a great sport to play:

  • It’s great for all ages. As I said, I started at age seven or eight and my grandparents played it well into their eighties.
  • It’s not too hard at all. Throwing and sliding takes a bit of practice, but it’s fairly easy to pick up.
  • It’s fun!
  • You can play even in a wheelchair or without bending down by using a tool to push the rock, similar to shuffleboard.
  • You don’t need to be in peak physical condition. Sure, the professionals do some gym training, but it’s not necessary for casual play.
  • The sound of the rocks hitting each other is really nice. I don’t know why I love it so much.
  • It’s really fun to do the yelling.

I hope I’ve managed to convince all you haters that curling rocks (pun intended) and to give it a try, at least on TV, and I hope that if you didn’t know anything about the sport, you now know a little. The sport is now an Olympic staple, and the addition of Mixed Doubles in these 2018 Games prove that this sport is adapting and gaining popularity for sure. Get with it.

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Life Update: This Last Semester Is Testing Me

One thing I wanted to do more of this year is ramble-y update-type posts. I mean, I love ranting on a certain topic and coming up with new ideas to present to you, but sometimes I feel like it’s a huge responsibility to come up with usable and original(ish) topics all the time. I don’t want to force them and I also don’t want my blog to just be opinion piece after piece. I want you guys to know what’s going on in my life, even if I’m not exactly living an exciting one.

happy shrug gif

As I mentioned in my last Monthly Look Ahead, my February is pretty chill in terms of school. It’s March that’s looking awful. March is always like that, but this year seems particularly ugly. Every week I’ll have at least one major assignment due, with a few weeks demanding two or three or four. Goodbye weekends. I have a big erasable calendar hanging up and just looking at the colour-coded dates tires me. The thing is, I have pretty good time management skills and am usually pretty good at working in advance and making the most of days off so I’m not doing things last minute, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like I have a lot of options for that. A few classes are involving group assignments, so I have to mind group members, and some assignments don’t have outlines available yet, so it’d be largely ineffective for me to start too early. So I’ve spent the past few weekends doing minimal work because I have nothing pressing, but feeling like I should be a thousand time more productive to ease my March stress. Anyway, as one of my friends said, no matter how bad the semester gets, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is Avengers: Infinity War.

Doctor saying "they're making us fight to survive"

I’m also in the bookmaking course that I came to this school for. I had heard rumours that it was wildly intense and the prof is a pretty intense dude, but so far, the work has been minimal too, and that’s stressing me out because I feel like I’m somehow unknowingly setting myself up for failure in March. I know I’ll have a lot to do with typesetting the final draft of my novel and preparing that, but even that doesn’t seem to warrant the prof’s suggestion that we don’t go home for reading week.

Typesetting a book is weird, especially when it’s your own. All of the sudden I have to make decisions that I never thought I’d be making. Do I want page numbers in the middle of the page or in the corner? Do I need a table of contents? Is 13.5 point leading enough? The other day I went to a public library and measured book dimensions. I like the control, but it’s a lot of pressure, especially since this book will be available for purchase eventually! We’ll be having a fancy book launch and people from outside the class will be there. I’m the only one in my class doing fiction, so that’s even weirder for me. But I’m excited and I can’t wait to share it with y’all.

The last thing going on in my life is the fact that I need to start applying for jobs soon. And not just summer jobs, career jobs. I’ve already gotten 100 lectures from my parents about it, and I’m sure reading week will bring me 100 more. They’re on me to apply early and apply for everything, even if I don’t have an interest in it. In past years, I’ve started applying daily around this time, but every year I was still jobless in June. I doubt things will change this year. Despite what my father thinks, employers mostly don’t hire four months in the future and at my school, there aren’t recruiters either. Are any of you recent grads? How close to graduation did you start applying and when did you get hired? And are any of you communications/media/marketing/PR grads?

Rachel Green wanting a job

So that’s what’s going on with me and my life. Just a lot of complaining, eh? But I do like being able to vent into the Internet void, so thanks for reading!

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤


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Happy Birthday, Ellen DeGeneres

Today, January 26th, is Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday, and I thought I’d dedicate a post to her, even if she’ll never read it, because she deserves it and I adore her. Happy Birthday!

ellen birthday image

I watched a lot of The Ellen Show in high school. I’d come home, grab a snack, and destress from school with her. If I had the time, I’d still watch the show regularly, but once in a while I’ll tune in, especially when I go home to my parents’ and usually have ample time to watch TV. I wish I had more hours in the day so I can consume all the content she’s a part of (including her spin-off shows like Game Of Games). I do miss having her as a part of my daily life.

Her talk show is always so fun and funny and enjoyable (related: this post on feel-good TV shows). Ellen is always so nice to everyone and always so happy to be there. Watching her show is always a good time because it’s so positive. I need more of that kind of positivity in my life. She should also write another book. Seriously…I’m Kidding is one of my favourites.

Ellen saying "haters are my motivators"

Furthermore, Ellen herself just seems so genuine and kind. There are so many celebrities and or talk show hosts I love who have, at one point or another, rubbed me the wrong way or came off a little weird, but Ellen never has. It’s refreshing and appreciated, and that’s why people love her so much. Even when she’s talking about something serious or sad, she does so with the utmost respect and kindness.

She’s also changed so many lives. Through her partners on her show, she’s given away millions of dollars and helped so many, and that’s so amazing. She’s also obviously a huge advocate for LGBTQ rights, and when she is speaking up about a cause or movement, it’s never preachy or aggressive. She uses her power and influence so well.

As a TV lover and a fan of quality entertainment, I am very grateful for all Ellen has done. I may not have time to watch it all but I do appreciate how consistently fun and feel-good it all is, from her show or books down to her tweets. I think she also has a Netflix standup special coming eventually, and I can’t wait for that. I just know it’s going to be great.

I hope Ellen is having a great birthday, and I hope everyone reading this takes a second to appreciate and send good vibes into the universe that’ll help keep her around for many more years and Emmy awards to come. The world will always need Ellen.

Ellen and Kate McKinnon dancing
Two Ellens are better than one

I’ll end this post as Ellen ends her talk show: Be kind to one another.

P.S. I’m pretty sure my constant use of the word “y’all” came from watching Ellen.

P.P.S. I don’t remember how we got to talking about this, but several months ago I told half the Quidditch team that if Ellen Degeneres wanted to murder me, I’d let her. I stand by this.

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14 Tips For New Bloggers

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years so I know my way around a blog by now. No longer am I the naive teenager who didn’t know the difference between a post and a page. I taught myself so much and I am so proud to be where I am today in regards to blogging. So I thought I’d take a second and offer some tips to any new bloggers. I visit a lot of new blogs in the weekly Community Pools and in various Reader tags, so I know what advice I can pass on as I see things over and over.

So if you started the year with a brand new blog and are looking for advice, look no further! I am by no means a perfect blogger and I hope I’m not coming across as cocky or braggy, but I want to help everyone’s blog become the best they can be in little ways. I don’t know the Secret To A Wildly Successful Blog, but I do what features I like on peoples’ blog and what I find beneficial. Furthermore, some of these tips can perhaps be useful for people who aren’t new to the game. This is a post of sharing and helping. These are all tried and true, and if I can help even one person, then I’ll consider this post a success!

  1. If you haven’t actually started your blog, take a second to research platforms. I love WordPress, but some bloggers like Blogger or Wix. Find out what’s best for you. The same goes for hosts if you want to go self-hosted or own a domain (which is not mandatory, by the way)
  2. You can always change your URL. I’m sure we all go through moments of wanting to change and rebrand, but in the end, you have to decide what’s best for your image and what’s easy for people to remember.
  3. If you do ever change your URL or relocate or delete your blog, make sure the URL attached to your username is changed too. So often I’ll get a new follower and want to check out their blog in return only to find dead links.
  4. Personalize your blog! Even free plans offer so many customizations options, so there’s no reason to stick with the placeholder images and text. Add colours, fonts, categories, a tagline, and widgets!
    Image result for personality gif
  5. Visit your blog the way a reader would. Log out if you have to, and pull up the URL to see what readers see. This is important for judging usability, clashing colours, and sizes.
  6. Edit your About page and make it easy to access. The About page is a very important part of your blog because it’s where new people will come when they’re deciding to follow you. Introduce not only yourself but your blog as well!
  7. Make sure to use spellcheck! I know good grammar is a dying art on the internet, but most bloggers do their best to avoid typos and make their posts as legible as possible for readers. A few mistakes are fine as we all make them, but not properly using commas or something can be irritating and could turn readers away. I know I’m guilty of occasionally having typos, so shoutout to my mother, who texts me every time she finds them!
  8. Learn the platform. Take an hour or two and click every setting and every option just to learn where they are and what you can use. Having an understanding of the site and where everything is makes using it so much easier.
    Image result for learn gif
  9. Definitely add a profile picture/image but remember that it’s a really small box that will cut off a lot so choose carefully so to best show what you want.
  10. In terms of blog content, I highly suggest adding images throughout posts. Walls of text is not always fun to read, especially when it’s so easy to add some visual to break it up. Not every post needs images, but they do spruce up posts. One blog I read often, The Invisible Moth, always has pictures in her posts, but sometimes they’re not even related to the topic, they’re just pretty and help break up the paragraphs.
  11. If you want to get more readers (and let’s be honest, we all do!) you will have to work for it. Read other blogs. Interact with other bloggers. Go looking for them because they will likely not come to you.
  12. Make use of the SEO tools you have. Make sure you use tags and keywords. Write catchy titles.
  13. Have a plan for your blog, not just in terms of content, but in terms of quality and quantity. What do you want to portray with your blog and how will you do it? My suggestion for complete newbies is to plan ten posts before you start so you can avoid burnout too quickly. Is my blog exactly what I thought it’d be when I started? Not exactly, but the general frame is the same. I knew I wanted to be nicheless and I knew I didn’t want to post more than once or twice a week, and those have maintained.
  14. Don’t spam your link and don’t demand traction because you’re new. If you want people to check out your blog, give them a reason to, and that reason could be as simple as a nice, relevant, meaningful comment. And most of the time, you don’t even need to manually add your link because your username will do it for you (provided tip #3 is in effect).
    Image result for you can do it gif

Having your own little slice of the Internet is a wonderful thing, and I highly recommend blogging to all, though I know it’s not for everyone. But if you do have a passion for it and you are new to the game, I hope these 14 tips helped you. And for seasoned bloggers reading this, if you have tips of your own to share, leave them in the comments!

That’s all for now!


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