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September Links

Things other people have done:

  • Made an intimidatingly big interactive map designed to show the true distances between solar system bodies (planets, moons, and the sun, the asteroids are too small to show up).

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August Links Post

Things I have done

Things friends have done

  • Almost immediately crowd-funded an illustrated version of the Ars Goetia, well done Lucian!

Things strangers have done

  • Come up with Oystercard wristbands, which I want like I want chocolate gin and world peace, because it would be satisfying and useful and it displays your balance! You don’t have to be at an Oyster machine to know how much is on there! These things need to become a reality immediately. I will pay the price. (Edit: Friend who works In Trains says this is not feasible, and I am upset).
  • The Royal Society have launched a Print On Demand service for their archive prints, so any other nerds who love old scientific illustrations like everyone Chez Des Anges does is in for a treat.
  • Wrote a brilliant defence of the Narnia books from the boring, oft-wielded “Susan Argument”. I’ve had so many arguments with people that have ended in taking down The Last Battle and making them read the actual words themselves, rather than regurgitating a misremembering by another writer, while muttering “words mean things” in their ear, it’s quite nice to see someone taking another approach.
  • Made a website where you can design your own shoes.
  • Made a very popular website which responds to a list of the ingredients you have to hand with recipes you can make with them. Although as the front page included the words “American Cheese” I’m guessing it’s focus is not necessarily as useful if you’re accessing it from a kitchen in Lagos.

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A Tiny Mention From A Tiny Room.

M’colleague Wayne Rée  is bringing out his first book, a collection of short stories called Tales From A Tiny Room, and he’s launching it at the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention. Not only this, but while giving an interview to InSing.com, he’s been kind enough to mention one of mine, so for insight into his process and a glimpse of his handsome face, read the interview here.

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Links Post July

Things other people have done

  • David Firth has put up several albums of his Locust Toybox work up for free/voluntary donation. I found his music via this fantastic Hannibal season 1 edit.
  • Create incredible bespoke books which I only wish I could afford to do a run of.
  • Collate a list (well, it is Buzzfeed, that’s basically what they do) of fun ways to customise t-shirts which don’t involve fabric paint, embroidery, or studs.
  • Determined how to create an emotional connection between the reader and characters, which involves using data from a couple of psychological studies whose major conclusion can be summed up as “people are dicks”.
  • Made what is possibly the most useful website ever, which finds recipes for whatever ingredients you have in the house.
  • Built an entire 2,000-person community underground. Alright, it was built underground a long time ago but I only found out about Coober Pedy recently (and the fact that it’s named after kupa-piti, which is a phrase in the local language meaning “white man’s hole” is straight-up hilarious). If I ever manage to overcome a disinclination to ever spend that long on a plane again and go back to Australia, I think I’d like to have a look.
  • Made a 3-D Food Printer, because why not?
  • Came up with this cunning little circuit-building kit, which I would dearly like to own; littleBits seems like a good solution for someone like me, who enjoyed the electronic engineering portion of the HNC I took in Music Production but who has the soldering capabilities of a fat-handed panda wearing Marigolds. Also I am all about modular everything, whether it’s clothing systems, houses, computers, furniture, or electronic circuit kits.
  • Continuing with my love of modular, DIY, easy-make-to-your-own-design stuff: in development are massive housing-specific Lego-type bricks.
  • Made a very handy tool showing you how people talked dirty in different eras of history. “Handy” if you write a specific type of fiction or just have an inquisitive mind.

Things I have done

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Links Post May

Things Other People Have Done

  • A helpful round-up of ten comics dealing with mental illness. After visiting the comics exhibition at the British Library earlier in the month, I’ve found my interest in comics from roughly ten years ago is slowly rekindling and crawling out from the blanket of general disinterest in everything and dislike of the medium, being gently reminded that although I’m surrounded by people who consume comics solely as a superhero narrative medium, there are other uses, styles, and forms the medium takes. It is good to be reminded that sequential art has functions beyond the fannish.
  • Compiled some of London’s most celebrated independent publishers, so that I can harangue them about how much they really really want to publish me. I suspect that’s not what they intended when they made this list but that’s what it’s for now.
  • Put up a collection of photographs taken by T. E. Lawrence during the Arab Revolt so that I can stare and stare and stare at them.

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Links Post December

Things I have done

Things strangers have done

  • Mapped London’s independent bookshops, to help anyone who wants to support independent businesses and get their books from sources that actually pay their taxes.
  • Provided a handy guide to embroidery needles, which helped me somewhat when I managed to snap one of mine in half while trying to straighten it after my ham hands bent it.
  • Sold very posh perfumes in imp sizes (2 ml bottles) for the impoverished and curious.
  • Collected together the very best and most innovative tattoos from around the world. Lots of material for inspiration here, although as the curator of the blog says, don’t copy anything directly – original work always looks better.
  • Posted about her exploits as an artist-in-residence at McMurdo, which involve a lot of penguins.
  • Put up a short guide to the colourful and weird slang of 1920s America. This should hopefully prove useful if I ever get onto my prohibition-era noir pulp thing with alien pregnancies that I have small plans to write.

That’s about it from me for this year. See you in 2014!

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Links Post September

Things Other People Have Done

  • Written a sardonic post about popular myths about poetry.
  • Designed an eating game based around the Prisoner’s Dilemma. A friend of mine was one of the original test party for this and spent a while explaining interesting “hacks” of the overall premise, which is after all what games are really about.
  • Put up a 1965 high school student’s research paper project: to ask several best-selling authors of the time about symbolism in their work. A surprising number replied, although as you’d expect they weren’t really into the literary criticism side of their stories.
  • Created a useful toy for house planners and writers alike: a room layout planner. Helpful for visualising fictional spaces. (via Cindy R)
  • Written an article about why storytelling is a valuable tool in understanding, in neurological terms as well as social ones.
  • Made this cool thing that makes patterns and is extremely good for calming one down after stressful work days.
  • Put up a tutorial on how to make failed lab experiments.
  • Made a regular podcast about the history of the English language.

Things I have done

  • Started a fashion magazine/blog called Faschionism which should, hopefully, update several times a week with stuff from various contributors.

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August Links Post

Things other people have done

  • Designed, and funded, a 3D-printer that runs on recycled rubbish as its “ink”. Part of me, which still remembers dot matrix daisy-wheel printers as the norm and is still secretly excited by laser printers even though I’ve owned one for 10 years (the same one, which is getting a bit doddery now), steadfastly refuses to believe that 3-D printing is a real thing. This is in spite of owning a piece of jewellery and a random thingamy both 3-D printed from metals. It’s strange to find yourself living in the future.
  • Started printing tiny 3-D versions of people from photographs for no apparent reason.
  • Written a witty and accessible article myth-busting on some common misconceptions about the Vikings.
  • In Texas, some glorious people have converted a disused/abandoned Walmart into the world’s largest public library. Well done.
  • Created a pen out of a pen nib out of a beer can, and made a tutorial about it.
  • Set up a fantastic thing called Forage London, which encourages us urban parasites to look at wild plants and actually use them! Something I’ve done since I was a kid but which is apparently in need of a resurgence.
  • Brilliantly transformed some chaps with long hair into Guys With Fancy Lady Hair, thus scaling back my recent objections to man-tails and reviving my adolescent interest in fellas with long locks.
  • Written a beautiful article about the genius of The Young Ones, one of my favourite sitcoms in TV history.
  • Unearthed a forgotten sporting hero from Britain’s past, Cuthbert Ottaway, who as well as revelling in an absurd name which gives Benedict Cumberbatch a run for his money, also served as the first England football captain and “once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket.” He was also a Barrister, and died at 28, presumably leaving most modern gentlemen feeling that they’d achieved nothing in their lives.
  • Made a synaesthetic map of the Tube.

Things People I Know Have Done

  • Made a redbubble account after I nagged them a lot to. Ossifier is the photographer responsible for the cover of Saint Grimbald’s Men, and has a lot of other very beautiful pictures to her credit. Worth checking out for postcards and prints.

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July Links Post

Things Other People Have Done

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Confluence of events

On the 2nd of July two things happened which affect my sewing progress on the million projects I have laid out for myself (including the accidental production of a pair of red snakeskin trousers).

  1. A friend and patron bought me about an acre of really beautiful burgundy taffeta with gold foil patterns on it, and another friend instructed me that I’m making myself a dress out of it.
  2. Which might be a little hard to do, as while I was trying to finish off the aforementioned red snakeskin trousers (made from an adapted leggings pattern), my sewing machine had a tantrum. I fixed it, it promptly threw another. This continued until the whole thing was completely locked up, at which point my partner in crime and cohabiting and I took the thing as much to pieces as we could (it’s been out of warranty for about 5 years, probably longer, given that I got it in late 2005). It was pretty much fucked, and I was faced with a choice between getting a service on it and potentially paying for new parts, or just ordering a slightly less decrepit sewing machine.

I opted for the latter, but even scraping the “special buy” section at John Lewis has set me back more than I can really handle, so…

… I am doing what I’ve just been told is a “buy my shit post”, or more accurately the less humiliating version of begging for Paypal donations (I don’t think I’m down to that yet).

If none of it appeals to you personally, remember that having a box of “gifts for emergencies” is super useful and makes you look like you’re thoughtful and on the ball. Also that I will definitely thank you for it.

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