On Gaming.

At the end of last year I made the decision to actively take a step back from “Strategy Twitter“. The White Male Opinions™️ can get tiresome – and they nearly always follow the same pattern. It’s telling that the last – I think five? – muted accounts on Twitter all fall under that description. There’s nothing quite like opening Twitter, seeing something decent, you click to open the thread, and before you know it there are three white male opinions arguing over the semantics or, y’know, ‘playing devil’s advocate’. Y-a-w-n. So this year I made the choice to lean into my passion, and tweet/write about gaming instead.

So here’s some stuff on that.

I’m not sure when it started.

Well, that’s not true. I do know when it actually started. The Atari 5200 was when it started. Specifically, this model (because I can just about make out the far reaches of my memory the overlay cards for the joysticks).

They were fascinating.

I barely remember the games. I think we had ET (who didn’t?), a tank game as well, definitely. It was my sister’s machine, not mine, but that’s when it started.

No, I mean leaning in to gaming and making it more of who I am and what I put out into the world.

Three things maybe.

First: I’ve always been a gamer. Atari 5200. Nintendo Entertainment System (the ‘NES’), then the SNES, GameCube (this was when the online fun started – finding friends on forums that had bought an Action Replay, subsequently imported Animal Crossing and then got themselves banned from the official Nintendo forums for trading pink sofas on a game not out in the UK – you know who you are), then the Wii, Xbox 360 (I was a signed up Wii60er), then the PS4 – my first PlayStation – and up to now, where I’m old enough and earn enough for it to be: ‘yeah, just about everything but PC’.

But that brief history is a) not why we’re here and b) a longer post for another day. The point is: I’ve always been a gamer.

Second: It’s true to say that the arrival of the PS4 unlocked a new community of gaming and gamers for me. From forums to Facebook groups, WhatsApp chats to annual IRL meetups – the community of people I game with are second to none. This is helpful because it’s also true to say that a mental health problem a few years back gave me time to explore and dive into spending more time with and understanding myself. Gaming – and the friends I found there – was a part of that too.

Fast forward to today and I have a solid clan of good people, a healthy rhythm of play, and access to amazing games with challenges and gameplay loops that forge long-lasting friendships and memories.

But what else of today? Well, in case you’ve missed it (or frankly, just simply been unable to get your hands on one yet) there’s the next generation of consoles arriving. Hella useful when there’s a global requirement for something to do when you can’t go outside.

Combine that with [the rest of the world waking up to] “GAMING” as an entertainment format coming of age – which leads me to my third thing – it means there’s a level of social acceptance that comes with owning up to being ‘a gamer’.

I mean, there’s ‘I play a bit of FIFA at the weekend’ levels of being a gamer, and then there’s ‘I play so much Destiny that I’ve got a dedicated game night, a handful of real-life medals, and a raid jacket‘. It’s all gaming. From a skillset perspective, I would still argue I’m bang average but on the spectrum of casual-hardcore, I’m definitely to the right of centre.

But it doesn’t matter where you sit, it’s all gaming. And that’s the point. People that gatekeep on streaming, on communities, on ‘hardcore’ vs ‘casuals’ can all get in the bin.

In short: Gaming is fun. Online play mean it’s more sociable than ever; yes couch co-op games are still great (albeit uncommon) but the abundance of online play/chat/team games means you can jump on at any time of the day and find people to play with.

Gaming is more accessible than ever. Yes, we’re in the middle (tail end? – Ed) of a global chip shortage, and yes the new consoles aren’t exactly cheap but there are options available for everyone. Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation Now, cheap Ps4s the Xbox Series S, hell, even Google Stadia – are all different/accessible (read: cheap) ways to dip your toes in and try it. The days of spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on consoles and games to play on them are – if you want them to be – long gone.

And Gaming is more acceptable than ever. I read this great quote in the FT a few months back, from game designer Jenova Chen:

“You don’t ask someone, ‘Do you watch movies?’ or ‘Do you listen to music?’ You just ask what kind they like. One day, we will simply ask each other: ‘What kind of games do you play?’” This day now seems closer than ever.”

I talk about gaming to friends, family, and colleagues. The eye rolls still happen, yes – and that’s fine – but not as often as they used to. Social acceptance is growing. Hurrah! Although, hilariously, if you’d asked me what I thought of ‘the casual gamer’ and the popularity of gaming growing massively (broadly I would argue thanks to PlayStation making it cool) 20 years ago, I probably would’ve growled something grumpy like ‘Rah rah rah, Nintendo is the best’. Thankfully I’m past that now.

For me, the popularity of gaming means I can embrace my passion and talk about it freely and openly.

And the best part? Very occasionally, I get to overlap it with my other my passion: my day job.

Writing is thinking. And being asked* to write – to think – about the thing I enjoy most in my spare time is ace.

Be that wanging on about the popularity of Animal Crossing OR deep-diving and celebrating what passionate gaming communities can do when they put their hearts and minds to it OR having a long look at why Xbox vs PlayStation is about to be more exciting than it’s ever been OR examining who has what edge when it comes to the forthcoming game-streaming wars OR simply sharing my gaming exploits with my friends and followers – it all floats my boat.

My point is: this isn’t one of those articles about ‘What games mean for brands’, or ‘top ten things marketers can learn from gaming’ (There are loads of those and if you look hard enough, you might actually find a good one – no promises though).

Far from it.

This is simply a call to arms for you. If you’ve never tried gaming before, now is the perfect time to give it a go.

If you’re a lapsed gamer, it’s time to get back in again.

The water has never been better.

See you there? x

*I don’t always have to be asked.

On Writing.

I used to write a newsletter.

I guess I still do. Just not recently. Last year, post-pandemic, I count seven editions. This year we have a grand total of one

For a ‘weekly’ publication, that’s not exactly regular.

March 23rd, 2020. We all know and remember that’s when the UK went into lockdown. Since then I’ve been back into the office I think five times? Twice for a shoot, once for a pitch, then twice to see (and in some cases, meet for the first time) my team. 

I do not miss the commute. I know I am not alone in this, not by any stretch. The benefits of working from home (higher productivity, deep work) far outweigh those of being in the office every day (commute, open-plan offices) – I can’t ever imagine going back to the ‘old’ normal ever again.

Incredible really. 

Being able to close my laptop at 6pm, immediately cuddle my children, start [a proper] dinner, and generally enjoy an evening at home with the family; that holds immense value for me.

But of course, that benefit comes at a cost: the 90-120mins a day of ‘dead’ time on the train/tube/walk of a commute mind, that’s where I did the thinking. The reading. The mental drafting and percolating of words, thoughts, and provocations that would ultimately wind up in an edition of Five Things on Friday.

And that’s gone now.

Not for good. But it’s telling that having travelled to and from the office twice over the past fortnight, there are words available at the end of these fingers once more.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

Throughout all this I’ve kept my job, the roof over my head, and – frankly – my life.

But today, today I’m allowing myself to miss writing.

Because I do.

I am in no rush to return to the office. But when I do (at least part-time) then maybe the words will return with it.

41.

Haven’t written a newsletter for maybe a couple of months and I’ve got a .txt file of links longer than my left leg to go through but instead of doing that, I thought it was high time to boot up the back end of my dusty weblog, blow off a few cobwebs, and see what comes out. Because of course.

It was my 41st birthday a fortnight or so ago.

Turning 40 was a huge deal for me. It is my firm belief that I spent a good part of those 40 years properly messing things up. Yes, I achieved so much – so so so so so much. And it was great – but it was also at great expense. To myself and to many others. I felt like 40 – and to be fairer to myself – the year leading up to turning 40, was a genuine full stop. End of page. New chapter. The second half of the book… And… Here. We. Go.

We spoiled ourselves last year. I’m glad we did. We owed to each other. Amazing gigs, several holidays, family trips – just saying ‘fuck it, we’ve earned this’ – because we had. ‘And in 2020,’ we said, ‘we won’t go on holiday. Instead, we’ll get the garden done, sort ourselves out financially, and focus on turning our house into a home’. Couldn’t have picked a better year for it.

This year, almost gone in the blink of a thousand video calls, is nearing its end. Christmas decorations are up. Tentative plans are being made. And yet I look around and think ‘Hey, wait a minute – it was March, like, yesterday? Where did it all go?’ Now don’t get me wrong, this year has been A yEaR uNLiKe AnY oThEr. But still.

I remember when I first became a parent someone said to me ‘The years are fine, it’s the decades you wanna watch out for’. And they were right. My children grow (my god they grow), life turns onwards. I find myself reflecting often on what I might leave behind (good therapy does that to you). Someone asked me recently, what would people write in your obituary?

“One of the best pieces of advice my therapist ever gave me was this: “spend your life helping your children write the obituary you will never hear. Make it easy for them.” It doesn’t matter what I think, feel – it matters what I do. I hope that what I do is enough.”

And I do. I wonder about it a lot.

Everything from ensuring my kids don’t feel pressured to conforming to false societal norms (I’m not the only one that does this, right?) to just making sure I use my platform to elevate voices that may not have the chance to be heard (Get DICE). Micro and macro – how can I not be a fuck up (anymore)? How can I give more back? How can I make sure I’m leading by example?

How can I ensure that what I do helps me live a life of meaning.


It was my 41st birthday last month.

That, for me at least, marks a full year of not being a fuck up.

And I’m alright with that.

Five things on Friday #272

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Things of note for the week ending Friday October 19th, 2018.

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Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS!
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1. ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER ‘AND WHAT A WEEK IT HAS BEEN FOR FACEBOOK’ SECTION

Sometimes, when it’s a slow news week, the press – especially in this country – might pick a ‘villain of the week’.

One week it might be beneficiaries of entirely legal corporation tax avoidance or the next it might the dangers of kids obsessed with gaming (it’s Fortnite currently,  Pokemon Go before, expect that to change at some point), or social networks and THE DANGERS OF SCREENTIME.

It is what it is. 

Facebook, whether you agree with it or not, right now can’t seem to catch a break. I only made passing comment to its new spy-device/home-video-calling system, PORTAL last week (and it was only in an email reply conversation did I realised I’d not unpacked my thoughts on it – I’ll come back to it, thanks Dev) but it was not received all that well at all. 

This week we had (first): 

Instagram Has a Massive Harassment Problem‘ 

An essential long read that really lays out just how effing awful it is for some people on the Instagram platform. 

Worse yet, people working there are quoted as saying: 

“There’s an effort called ‘kindness,’ which is to reduce bullying and harassment, but there’s not that many people working on it,” said Alex, a current Instagram employee who asked to be referred to by a gender-neutral pseudonym. “Generally, what you’ll find is a lot of these efforts on harassment or bullying, or there’s a new feature to track how much time you spend—they’re mostly done for PR.” Another Instagram employee told me nearly the same thing: that Instagram’s anti-bullying rhetoric “doesn’t seem connected to what’s actually going on in the company.”

I am reminded of the Listerine debacle all over again (thing three, here). 

Anyway, after that Instagram thing we have the ongoing saga of the exposed accounts issue (first they thought it was 50m, to be sure they revoked 90m security tokens, but now it turns out it was ‘just’ 30m). That’s worth reading up on

As a side point, it’s a bit horse has bolted but this week I went back through my Facebook account and just started deleting profile information (aka the stuff that has been exposed) and reconsidered what I want to keep on the platform. From a personal perspective, I only use the Facebook platform for two groups that I’m part of. And even that interaction is through the browser (not even the recent 3D photo update could pull me back). 

And then to top it all off, in the middle of this past week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a lawsuit that has been filed claiming Facebook knew about its over-reporting of video metrics for a year before it acted on it. NOT A GOOD LOOK.

Really
 
So yeah, it’s been a rough week for Facebook indeed. 

OH WAIT, THIS JUST IN: as we go to press (er, who’s ‘we’?), former leader of the UK political party, the Liberal Democrats (the US pundits will have fun with that), Nick Clegg, has been hired to lead Facebook’s global affairs and communications team.

Can’t think why… 

Ha. This piece from the FT (that the above is from) probably says more about the appointment than anything you’ll read on Twitter today (h/t Kate Bevan). 

So yeah, there’s your Facebook news for the week. FOR THE WEEK. Cray cray.

Finally, regarding PORTAL, Facebook initially said it had ‘no plans at this time’ to serve ads on PORTAL. But what you use it for, though? That’s another story

PS. Clegg has just published this to The Guardian. I’m about to read it, you should too. 

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2. Y&R

Burn, baby burn.

You hear stories and then you hear stories. All of this is entirely believable and, well, entirely on par for the advertising world of old (that I’ve oft-heard about and ne’er encountered). 

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3. A FEW THINGS REGARDING RED DEAD REDEMPTION II

HEY YOU, NON-GAMER, DON’T SKIP THIS SECTION QUITE YET. 

First off, in the same way that Marvel’s Spider-Man (for PS4) trailers and posters were literally EVERYWHERE a few weeks ago, expect the same from the incoming western ‘sim’ RED DEAD REDEMPTION II. 

Things to know about this game: 

1. It’s expected to be MASSIVE
2. It’s out on October 26th. 
3. I’m almost intimidated by how massive it is. 
4. I know SEVERAL lapsed gamers that are specifically coming back for this game (you know who you are).

Bear in mind the original came out May 2010 on last gen machines (PS3 and Xbox 360), that’s a huge statement. More so that we’re headed towards the end of the life cycles of the machines they’re launching on – the fact that one new release can drive hardware sales is testament to how big a game this is and just how much, if you’ll pardon the pun, is riding on it. 

5. Enjoyed S1 of Westworld? Imagine that but without the crazy robots. 
6. Here’s a ridiculous gameplay trailer
7. Don’t try and talk to me after Oct 26th. 

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4. BYE BYE GOOGLE+

If you haven’t read this massive thread on how bad everything was over there back when G+ was a thing, you should.

Neither Google or the author come off that well IMO.

But still. Silicon Valley is mental.  

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5. SMART DOORBELLS REDUCE CRIME BY UP TO 55%

Or do they?

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THE ESSENTIALS: 
 

  1. Five rules for the workplace 
  2. The Indian Government (again – but with impact)
  3. Hope and Despair

_____________________

THE BONUS LINK SECTION OF BONUS BONUS LINKS

Right you animals, let’s get these bonuses IN AND ON. 

  1. I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake‘ 
  2. Crazy Random Re-Opened London Street? Amazing.
  3. My jury is still well and truly out on the Pixel 3 but this piece on exactly how they’ve computationally attacked the zoom function is PEAK NERDERY of the highest order. 
  4. A great thread of ‘facts’ (not all are true) about Freddie Mercury
  5. Pots. Kettles. Scamtastic.
  6. AMAZING PERCEPTUAL ILLUSIONS
  7. Yes.
  8. I’m speaking at a thing in Bristol next month. Are you in that part of the world? Come.
  9. ESCAPE FROM FANTASY (this has been everywhere but still, if you haven’t read it – read it)
  10. #COPYSAFARI. I mentioned Dr Draper in the intro. One of the many things he’s been up to in his trip here (and probably my favourite thing) was this ‘Copy Safari’ with Vikki Ross. Worth a read of this great hashtag.
  11. DOES YOUR STRATEGY EVEN LIFT BRO?  – compelling.
  12. I just can’t get enough.
  13. Man? Read this.

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PS. Don’t forget to subscribe for MORE.

Five things on Friday #249

Things of note for the week ending Sunday, February 11th, 2018.

Did you know, if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF (eg: a proper intro and probably some more gifs) than reading it here on whatleydude.com.

So y’know, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

TO THE THINGS

1. PARAMOUNT + NETFLIX

Last week, during the Superb Owl, there was a ton of new movie trailers (as well as one great ad – for TIDE) one of those trailers was for a film called ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’.

What happened next is old news now. The trailer dropped and, minutes after the big game finished, the film was available to watch on Netflix.

‘AMAZING!’ screamed some.
‘IT’S A REVELATION IN MOVIE MARKETING!!’ screamed others.

But then, when the dust settled, it appeared that with very little spend from Paramount (at best, they went 50/50 on the movie’s ad spot with Netflix) they managed to get millions of people excited about a very bad second-rate movie.

That’s the interesting part to me. I get that JJ Abrams’ ‘thing’ is mystery and surprise (hell, he even did a TED talk on it) so I get that this could be seen as just another JJ marketing move. But I don’t think so. Paramount has not had a HUGE hit at the box office in years. Last year, it’s best-performing movie was TRANSFORMERS (episode 17, Primes of the round table or something) – and that barely scraped the top 20.

Taking that into account, and also looking at the recent news about a similar ‘straight-to-Netflix’ deal re: the forthcoming sci-fi movie, ANNIHILATION, it looks a little like Paramount is playing it super safe. It’s one big hit this year is probably going to be MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT.

Outside of that? Who knows. It’s a shame. Some of the best MARVEL films started out at Paramount. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for them. I also hope that this isn’t the start of a trend where ‘straight to video’ movies just get sold as ‘straight to Netflix’ – that is not a good luck for any/all involved.

2. THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE

My friend Molly Flatt has a book out.

I am awfully proud of her.

And the book is pretty damn good (so far) too.

I’m fortunate enough to have been sent a proof copy. You can pre-order yours now (out in May).

Do so.

3. DIGITAL OUT OF HOME AD SCREENS AS BITCOIN MINERS. 

Terence Eden has seen them.

This is 2018.

4. TWITTER ACTUALLY TURNED A PROFITAbsolute scenes.

You can read the whole letter to its shareholders here. Interestingly, aside from kinda waving vaguely at the President of the USA, I can’t really see anything here that screams ‘We know exactly what we’re doing!’

I’m being unfair.

I’m pleased for Twitter. Truly. 12yrs to get this far. And it is indispensable. I just hope this isn’t a blip. Time will tell.

More here.

5. THE BANANA TRICK

I’ve never stolen anything from self-checkout (although when I was a kid, I stole my fair share of sweets from the pick’n’mix at Woolworths (WE ALL DID IT)) but apparently, this is a THING. With its own nomenclature and everything.

The Atlantic has more.

PRE-BONUS ESSENTIAL READING: 

Only the essentials. 

  • Uma Thurman’s interview with the NYT dropped hours after I published last week’s edition. I’m hoping you’ve all read and/or seen it by now. If not, fix that.
  • I considered linking to the Quentin Tarantino piece that came after this one but no, f*** him.
  • Related – Jill Messick, caught up with all of this, took her own life last week. This is all so awful.
  • Steve Wynn has FINALLY stepped down.
  • CP + B fires its CCO. Doesn’t say why…
  • Droga 5 loses its ECD in a similar way.
THE BONUS SECTION OF BONUS-SHAPED BONUSES: 

They shoulda told us about da bonus…

YOU HAVE REACHED THE END. 

Thank you for reading.

It has been a long and hard weekend. I am very much looking forward to a Monday night of peaceful sleep.

We shall see.

Whatley out, x. 

Ps. This week’s was late.

Nextweek’s may not appear at all.

I’m in Rome Wednesday – Monday and may not take my laptop with me.

If we don’t speak, have a lovely couple of weeks and I’ll be in touch upon my return.

Ciao, Bella x.  

Five things on Friday #228

Things of note for the week ending Saturday July 1st, 2017.

REMINDER: if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday email newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on My Happy Place.

You can do that by hitting the inconspicuous button that may or may not be below this sentence.

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we crack on?

//// ⭐️ //// ⭐️ ——— ⭐️ \\\\ ⭐️ \\\\

1. GEN XENNIALS

I don’t REALLY have to repeat how much it makes my gut reach whenever I read some of the latest guff around generational ‘cohorts’ now do I?

For those of you that didn’t throw up the moment you read the above thing title, keep reading!

The ‘micro-generation’ of people born between 1977 and 1983 (and the reason that this, ahem, research is appearing in this edition MAY WELL BE because I fall into said category) now have their own name.

GENERATION XENNIAL.

— passes the sick bag —

AHEM.

It says here:

Look. I get it. That is definitely me. And the full definition makes a lot of sense.

But it’s still a massive wang-a-thon

I’ve said it before, if you want a decent take on all things cohort, you could do a lot worse than read this excellent piece by Jed Hallam – Millennial is a useless term‘ 

Xennials. I mean, really.

— — — — —

2. WETHERSPOONS DELETED ITS ENTIRE EMAIL DATABASE – ON PURPOSE

I AM SO HERE FOR THIS.


WIRED* is reporting that UK pub chain (and oft-favourite haunt of student-Whatley) J.D. Wetherspoons has deleted its entire email mailing list and says it will stop sending newsletters via email completely.

JDW’s CEO, John Hutson, wrote to its subscribers last week and said –

“Many companies use email to promote themselves, but we don’t want to take this approach – which many consider intrusive. Our database of customers’ email addresses, including yours, will be deleted.”

BECAUSE WHO WANTS MORE EMAIL, AMIRITE? 

This is nothing short of superb.

Like I said, WIRED has the full story.

Worth a read.



*Incidentally, I subscribed to WIRED magazine this week. £28 for 24 issues. That’s £1.10 per issue. Not bad

— — — — —

3. THE SECRET HISTORY OF PIXAR’S CARS UNIVERSE

Buckle up.

Shit’s about to get weird.

 (this is probably my favourite thing this week)

Earlier this week, I read the following:

—–

“One of the beauties and dangers of the internet’s ability to dilate fandoms so that they never begin and never end is that people get to spend too much time thinking about stuff. For instance, Cars 3 — the latest kid-friendly Pixar film — is out today, but it will likely not address the fact that a car genocide happened in which Car Hitler exterminated 6 million Car Jews during Car World War II. It is very easy to prove that Car Hitler is real, using canonical Cars lore.

The general line of thought is something like this: The Cars-verse includes a World War II–era Jeep named Sarge, who explicitly references events like the Battle of the Bulge. In the direct-to-DVD film Planes (made by Disney but not Pixar), there is an actual WWII flashback in which the plane Skipper recalls losing his entire squadron in the Pacific Theater. Assuming that Car WWII occurred, and that it contains the same contours as the actual WWII, we can assume that there were Car Axis powers, and thus a Car Hitler.”

The problem with this stuff is the more you read it, the more you just want to keep scrolling…

Which you’re going to do once you click through and read the whole damn mind-bending thing.

— — — — —

4. A SECTION ABOUT MOVIES + STUFF

There’s a whole bunch of film-based news/knowledge/trailers that I’ve missed while away so I’m bunging it all under one section (save running a whole FToF dedicated to movies – but that might still happen one day – maybe).

Ready?

In no real order whatsoever:

______________

And that’s that section done. While we’re here though, let’s throw in another bit. Being off work for as long as I have, I’ve been catching up with a number of box sets I’ve had my eye on:

  1. 13 REASONS WHY (Netflix). Hard watching. But very good.
  2. AMERICAN GODS (Amazon Prime). Made by the same team that brought us the HANNIBAL TV series (still my favourite TV show of all time ever – not kidding), AG has some stellar performances but overall suffers from assuming too much knowledge on behalf of its audience. EXPLAIN MORE STUFF PLEASE AMERICAN GODS. THANKS.
  3. PREACHER (Amazon Prime). I started this AGES AGO but with S2 arriving I figured I’d revisit. It is gruesome, weird, messed up, and (unlike AMERICAN GODS) includes a decent plot. I enjoyed it.
  4. HOUSE OF CARDS (Netflix). Do I really need to talk about this?
  5. Over to you, dear reader…​
— — — — —

5. OMG – COMPETITIVE PUNNING

This week, on ‘RANDOM THINGS I HAVE WATCHED ON THE INTERNET’, this video utterly killed me.

Go. Watch it. Then come back.

So yeah, found that video via this AMAZING article on Fast Company that explains how Joe Berkowitz spent a year exploring the culture in and around COMPETITIVE PUNNING.

“The best pun I heard during the course of writing the book was: ‘I went to go shopping for cherries and microphones the other day: bought a bing, bought a boom,’” Joe told me. “The worst pun I heard was: ‘If steaks can’t satisfy you, can ribs?’ where the words ‘Can ribs’ were somehow supposed to form a pun on ‘Cribs.’ This was 15 minutes into a pun duel about furniture and all the good puns were taken, but still: wow,” Joe recalled.

If you only watched the video at the start of this section then I will be happy but this whole thing, in general, is so mentally brilliant, I can’t impress it upon you enough to go read, explore, and enjoy/cringe/laugh.

Go go go!

— — — — —

BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

HERE BE THE BONUS SECTION. AKA: ‘THE SELECTION OF LINKS THAT JAMES FOUND INTERESTING ENOUGH TO SHARE BUT NOT INTERESTING ENOUGH TO ADD A WHOLE PARAGRAPH OR FIVE OF THOUGHT ABOUT’

DON’T SHY AWAY, MIND. THERE BE GOLD IN DESE HILLS.

DEEP BREATH.

HERE WE GO.

What’d I miss?

— — — — —

And I think that just about wraps it up.

WHAT A WEEK. 

I’ll try not to leave it so long next time.

Whatley out. 

Five things on Friday #157

Things of note for the week ending January 1st, 2016.

FtoF2016

Happy New Year, friends.

Shall we?

1. DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY OF AWESOME

drone drone

Some of these are just wonderful. The above, so simple. The below, breathtaking. I found them via Quartz however that site pulled them from Dronestagram, a place dedicated to the ever-growing art form of drone photography.

christ drone

These two are from the recent batch of winners in Dronestagram’s recent aerial photography contest – just two! The rest are worth seeing too.

A few things here:

  • Did you get a drone for Christmas? Get yourself off to Dronestagram!
  • Back in November, as we celebrated Bonfire Night in a park in South London, we counted no less than four drones hovering above the crowd taking in the firework display. In short: the drones are comingu
  • Rules and regulations on drone usage are slim-to-none (in the UK at least) but if you do have one, please use safely and with respect and care for your fellow humans.

My best friend got a drone for Christmas, I’m going to hassle him for some snaps after I hit publish on this. Woop woop.

Speaking of liking photos…

2. WHAT DO THE TOP INSTAGRAM POSTS OF 2015 SAY ABOUT US

MEOW

The Next Web has pulled together a decent review of the 2015 top ten [most liked] photos from Instagram. But instead of just republishing the images and going ‘Oh hey look, come see!’, the author has actually done some work (HURRAH!) and pulled in the point of view of a consultant clinical psychologist to help in said review.

Definitely a good read and – I really hate to be that guy but – the last paragraph is so on point.

Go read.

3. NINE LESSONS

Brain Pickings is a favourite site of mine. I’ve pulled from it a number of times for FTOF and I/you can visit any day of the week and find something super interesting to read.

I found something from October’s published articles that reflected upon its nine year history.

It is a wonderful read. I mean really.

No images, no quotes – just a proper recommendation to read this article.

Off you pop then.

4. DOCTOR STRANGE

Irrespective of your thoughts on the most recent SHERLOCK (it was all going so well right up until… well, you know) Benedict Cumberbatch is a bloody good actor.

This year, we have two big MARVEL films head our way. The first one, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR [trailer] arrives in April. The second one, arriving in October, is DOCTOR STRANGE.

This guy.

DrStrangeAvengers-580x299

And in the film itself?

This guy.

Mystical-Strange-005-EW

Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect casting for this gig. Doctor Stephen Strange has already been mentioned in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and his nemesis was also glimpsed in ANT-MAN (oh you missed that did you?) – so yeah, he’s coming in October and EW has the scoop on how he’s going to look in the film.

And in case you needed it, here’s the UK MARVEL movie release dates for

  • Captain America: Civil War – April 2016
  • Doctor Strange – October 2016
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – April 2017
  • Spider-Man – July 2017
  • Thor: Ragnorak – November 2017
  • Black Panther – February 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 2018
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp – July 2018
  • Captain Marvel – March 2019
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 2019
  • Inhumans – July 2019

Busy then.

5. 1, 2, 3 – JUMP!

2016 is a leap year. Here are 20 crazy facts about February 29th.

It’s late, and if I don’t hit publish soon this newsletter will be too.

_________

Bonuses this week are things that I’ve found/loved personally this week:

See you in a week, friends.

And in the name of all things amazing – a very Happy New Year to you.

Until next time,

JW.