Scarce! The call of the wild… board game convention?

I’ve become a little scarce – with the lovely Easter long weekend throwing my blogging balance off, and the annual board game convention the Gathering of Friends upcoming, you will likely not see much of me here until the end of April. I’ll be busy gaming this (4-day) weekend, and then next (3-day) weekend (and at the end of the month, I’ll likely do wrap-ups like I did for last year)! Between that I’ll be cramming in work, real life, Jake cuddles.

If you are into board games, and on Instagram or Twitter, make sure to follow me there for more Gathering of Friends “as it happens” sorts of stuff! My friend Sean and I will likely be sharing updates on the Daily Worker Placement Instagram and Twitter accounts too, so give ’em a follow. And the tag #GOF2015 will be of wider interest for you if you’re into this all.

Here’s a little shot of what one of the nights of games was like last year!

Game room is ballin' tonight! #gof2014

A photo posted by Nicole (@iheartmuseums) on

See you all soon!

No fooling – just links. April 1 digital dozen!

I’m not interested in sending you all out to stuff that is just a big joke, so here’s some for real cool stuff to check out.

Let’s ease into it with this balloon cat. How delightful and static-y.

Now, I know this might seem really pranky, but it’s for real and amazing. Look at the skill.

I’ve just signed up for a bike sharing program here, so I will have to really remember my helmet wherever I go. Gotta say things would be easier with this awesome design. Fold down helmet! Please.

I’m a huge fan of dogs. I’m a huge fan of rescue dogs. So I’m always a huge fan of tactics to help find rescue dogs forever homes, like this wonderful photobooth initiative. Such sweeties.

I know this was released very close to April Fool’s, but Google’s Pacman layover of maps is a super fun thing! I love it when Google make the fun things, whenever it is.

Morbid but beautiful, ‘Memento Mori‘ is a book that documents sacred sites around the world where human skeletons are displayed. The ways that cultures do this the world over is fascinating.

Have you seen those ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ advertisements around? They’re lining the walls of my subway station right now. So I’m kinda in love with this parody of it, “Also Shot On iPhone 6“.

A quick snippet about how sriracha hot sauce is made! I like the sort of hypnotic factory footage. Mmm, bottles of hot.

Not sure how the drone fared with fireworks attached to it, but the results are gorgeous.

The concept and execution of these movie director portraits is incredible! I’d for real hang this David Lynch one.

I know I don’t have the patience for art. I know because I look at incredible stuff like this and figure I’d have a hissy fit 10 minutes in. But look how pretty and detailed! I’m thankful there’s patient artistic people out there. Make sure to click through for the time lapses.

I need one of these for my desk at work. Or at least I need to figure out how I can make one.

Things I love Thursday – the ‘things I miss Thursday’ edition

See as I’ve been traveling/living abroad since 2007, there’s a few things I miss not just about home, but also my first ‘home away from home’, London. Getting a bit nostalgic today for things & places that I can’t have with me here in Toronto.

Beaches. Not that there’s no beaches in the UK or here in Canada. But I miss those beautiful sandy Pacific beaches! This is Avalon Beach in North Sydney, where I spent many summers as a kid. Things only get better as you go north up the coast into Northern NSW and Queensland, too!

I miss the stuff I packed up & left in boxes with my mum. Books, records and comics. And awesome art like this gorgeous museum sketch by artist Phil Jimenez.

There’s tasty things I miss. I seriously was so in love with these tofu bites, it’s like they were laced with something addictive. Last time I was in London I ate a whole package riding transit back to my friend’s place.

And wonderful Australian vegan treats like these cruelty-free versions of Tim Tams and Mint Slices! omg.

And never mind all of the sweet, tart, amazing ciders that I used to have access to living in England. And drinking my fair share at the Green Man pub in Central London!

But I don’t have to be far away from some things I love to miss them. While I still bake for fun and treats, I do sometimes miss the fun of making delicious vegan (and some gluten free) treats like I used to at a certain board game cafe. I was proud of my work, even when I was undervalued for my contributions. Like, c’mon. Check out these donuts, man!!

Links for everyone! Digital Dozen time.

Digital dozen – 12 ways to distract yourself with shiny internet things this hump day.

I think if I were to get married, this would be 100% the wedding ring I want. Yep. Adulting!! (via)

Though I’m not a fan of their coffee (it’s my last resort when there’s nothing else coffee..) I do love this Tumblr of Starbucks sleeves sketched on to transform them into awesome portraits.

This design is fantastic!! My keyring’s pretty slim these days but if I had more, I’d be into this.

These tiny creations are so delicate and wonderful. I don’t think I could ever have the patience for them.

I’m constantly amazed at how creative people can be when given a restricted set of materials to use to create something. Design Within Reach have a ‘champagne chair’ contest each year, and these are this year’s winners. Super!

Air safety is no joke.. but these are pretty funny, c’mon.

Pixar artists turns R-rated movies into kid’s book illustrations. GOLDEN.

While we’re in the Disney realm.. here’s some lovely Baymax cosplaying as other Disney characters. The best.

Rain-activated sidewalk art! Of course someone in Seattle made this.

New wave rock stars as Marvel heroes was built for my brain.

This artist is carving a wooden spoon a day, and sharing on Instagram. They’re so wildly diverse and interesting!

Old to new – discarded books carved into art.

Things I Love Thursday – Jake Watching Us Game edition

Hello! Here’s an excuse to share cute pictures of Jake putting up with the gaming we do. Poor tortured soul.

Then there was that one time he just gave up and slept on the shelf.

But sometimes he comes to conventions with us!

This week’s ‘digital dozen’ linkfest!

I’m going to lead today with something to bring your spirits up and make you smile – a Husky showing her pups how to play. Blissful!

I want this bed. No explanation necessary.

Gemma Correll’s ‘Modern Curses‘ really cut to the bone! Oh man..

Little skeletons, shadows barely seen, installed in the streets of Mexico. I love the diorama feel of these.

What you need is to watch this video of an adorable baby wombat getting belly rubs. It’s a few years old now, but it’s too cute to pass up – and you can read more about it here!

This installation provides some pretty awesome photo ops from all angles.

Incredibly tiny & detailed images.. ‘Postcards for Ants‘. I’d send them all.

More bookstore pranking from Obvious Plant! So much fun.

I love the surprises that animals can give us. I know crows are pretty smart, but seeing them play like this is an amazing thing!

Good art gets better with remixes; mixed media interactions in galleries needs to happen MORE!

Level up your table tennis game with ping pong in the round. This one’s for you, Eric.

The psychology of colour is so interesting! I know it’s been a marketing tool forever, but it’s also interesting when you’re looking at it in terms of interior design. Makes me wish all our apartment walls weren’t white.

You are not better than anyone: the board game edition.

Video gaming’s had a lot of shit-flinging over the last year or so with G*merG*te stepping up to not only tell people they don’t belong in the industry/hobby, but also a whole lot of other just generally terrible, life-threatening things. Luckily, we haven’t reached such levels of awful in the tabletop gaming hobby – most likely because the numbers are smaller, and it’s not as mainstream a hobby.

Not to be down on the folks I share a hobby with at all – there’s fantastic, wonderful people there! But some attitudes and commentary of late – some specific, some just popping up vaguely here and there – have me thinking about how exclusivity, feelings of seniority and also sexism can play a part in pushing people away. I’m lucky to know some awesome folks who speak out about stuff like this and I am lucky to call them friends, and share the hobby with them.

As in life, remember in your hobby: you are not better than anyone. You are on the same level as people, and you should treat them accordingly. So, here’s some thoughts..

No matter how long you’ve been in the hobby, you have no more right to it than someone that started into it this past weekend.

Just because someone doesn’t like the same kinds of games as you doesn’t make them inferior to the hobby.

It’s hard to believe this needs to be said, but women are gamers too. With a variety of interests as far as theme and game-play go, and you should never assume any differently.

Related, don’t speak in terms of “I got beaten by a girl!” whether that’s a 7 year old girl, or a 50 year old woman. Just.. don’t.

Oh right, and also don’t go asking for recommendations for your significant in other in terms of “they’re my wife lol” – speak about that person in terms of their interest in gaming, their non-gaming hobbies, and the games they may have tried/liked already and you will not only get a better round of recommendations but you’re also not distilling your partner down to their relationship to you only.

When you wonder why there’s not enough women in the hobby, or taking the leap to design games – don’t put the onus on them to do it. Make the industry and hobby welcoming, encourage without belittling, and it’ll be good for all.

If you’re an industry-type, don’t let it go to your head. I feel like this hobby lends itself to a wonderful co-mingling of both, especially when it comes to playtesting and support. Don’t push people away because they’re “not at your level”.

Size doesn’t matter. So what if you’ve got 500 board games, and someone else only has 5? You shouldn’t believe that makes you a higher level gamer. Life circumstances are often behind the ability – or lack thereof – to build a collection, and nobody should be judged for that.

Opinions – and a variety of them – should be encouraged and welcomed in the hobby! Don’t shut someone down just because they have their own opinions that may differ from yours. Discuss it like adults, please! Or step away if you’ve nothing constructive to say.

Don’t diss out gateway games like Settlers of Catan, or Splendor (for example) for the sake of it just to sound superior! Just because you don’t play it or you might hate it doesn’t devalue the game as something that can introduce a person to tabletop gaming. And if you don’t like gateway games like that, find something else you think might work. Even something like For Sale, or Ghost Blitz, for example, can be an irresistible introduction to games.

Kickstarter: if people don’t want to, or can’t, back Kickstarter projects, so be it.

Never assume you are better than anyone. Be excited, be enthusiastic, and enjoy gaming. That excitement and enthusiasm will be welcoming and encouraging, and can only make the hobby better.

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