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.

Goodbye to Sir Terry

Yesterday, there was some very sad news – Sir Terry Pratchett passed away - and it really hit me much harder than I thought it would. I haven’t by any means read all of the Discworld books (but the Death ones are my faves), nor any of his solo work outside that Universe, but he did co-write my favourite book ever, Good Omens, with Neil Gaiman.

The above is the title page of my copy of Good Omens (my cover is this one). I had it signed by Neil when I attended the Continuum convention in Melbourne in 2003 (oh man.. that’s forever ago) – I babbled at him about how it was my favourite book, and he signed it (top) leaving space for Terry, should I ever get him to also sign it. (I think this is one of the regular ways they’d sign it even if it wasn’t at the same event!).

Then a few years later, Terry was in Australia and doing a signing in Brisbane (where I lived) at the Pulp Fiction bookstore. I worked just across the river at the time, so had planned on taking a long lunch to go. I was hit that morning with one of the worst bouts of hayfever I’d had in ages (I distinctly remember how awful I felt) – I ended up leaving work sick, but couldn’t face not meeting Terry. So I went and waited in line, snuffling and sniffling and generally feeling miserable. I waited for ages. But then there was Terry, so lovely and friendly, taking the time to have a quick chat with everyone who was getting a book signed.

This book is one of my treasures! I wish that I had it with me now instead of having left it packed up at home. I will be getting it onto my ereader soon for a re-read, as well as filling some of the gaps in my Discworld reading that have taken me too long to get to. Sir Terry has really left a large void in the literary world. He had such a unique tone and humour, yet was so insightful even with a series of silly, fun books like Discworld. There’s nobody like him and we’ll miss him forever. I’m so glad he left us behind so many things to love.

Who needs fun stuff to look at? You won’t believe what happens next. (ie. This week’s digital dozen post!)

I am so tickled by this series of “how dogs see the world”. In particular:

Let’s all move here. That’s all I have to say about that.

There’s been a lot of strides in robotics in my lifetime.. but I think this one freaks me out just a little bit. I suppose I should just welcome our new robot bird overlords and be done with it. It’s so reeealll looking, the way it flaps.

I already dig the blog Things Organized Neatly, and this project kinda aligns with that particular aesthetic satisfaction. Mm, matching things.

Are all cats this sentimental? It’s so sweet. HUGZ.

There’s nothing like a sweet illustration from a photo – and these ones of kids are particularly adorable.

Creative and interactive uses for technology amaze me every day, and this augmented reality sandbox that shows how topography works – real time – is incredible! It would be amazing to see stuff like this in use in museums.

When I was living in London/travelling Europe, I used to love spotting the little mosaic space invaders around cities. You can see a few pics of the ones I found here (along with my love for other random Space Invader paraphernalia). This shit’s gotten pretty next level though, with an invader mosaic on the damn ISS. How cooooool.

These body painting illusions FLIP ME OUT. Can’t handle it. Wow.

Mold is so gross, but fascinating. Following that, enjoy this timelapse of it growing in a petri dish! I fear to watch, yet I cannot turn away.

You’ve probably seen random photos of urban decay & the like pop up in my links roundups before – I dig it. I saw this linked on Boing Boing and it looks maddening and beautiful and messy and fascinating. More previews of the book’s contents are here.

I think this doghouse is way too fancy for Jake’s tastes (although if there’s automatic food dispensing he’s gonna be all over it) and he doesn’t really like watching TV or anything like that. But the treadmill and water therapy thing seems cool. And the abundance of napping places. But it’s all kinda silly, considering it was a publicity stunt. Hella cute dog though!

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