(Trying) To Get Things Up To Date

I have been really bad at blogging since … well, quite some time (last post in mid 2014 oops!). The move to the UK and starting at Brunel has taken most of my mental bandwidth since last fall, but now with a full semester behind me, and only 4 weeks from the end of second term, I am hoping to get back into keeping my digital spaces up to date (or start thinking about shutting them down). First thing on today’s to-do list- update that darn CV!

Eating Well Trends: 2012

Wasting some time the other day, my daughter was browsing through an old copy of Eating Well magazine. The back page had a “Trends 2012” list – which I had skipped reading at the time for lack of interest in such lists. Until my daughter read it to me …. I don’t know who they assigned that back page to, but it is hilarious and well worth the (long-ish) read!! Enjoy the absurdity!

eating well

A ‘Tattoo Woes’ Update

I am happy to say that I had a meet-up with the shop manager today and discussed both my experience and the unsatisfied results – she saw where I was coming from, was very apologetic, and more than accommodating, offering full service to finish/add to my tattoo. I am excited as it means I get to have a wee bit more work done to fill it out and tie it all together (and who doesn’t love more ink?!).

She thanked me for coming in to tell her as she said that most people would simply not return and slag the shop/artist and since so much of the business is based on reputation, it is good for them to know. This is the first time I have ever followed through with this type of complaint and it feels really good that it was well received. I can honestly say this whole process has been a growth experience for me and it feels pretty good!

p.s. I have consciously chosen not to name the studio or artist – even the best places on the planet can screw up and I do not want to give them good or bad publicity publically.

Reconciling Regret

I am not usually one to keep my mouth shut. I am not usually one who let’s others shut me down. Yet, yesterday, this is exactly what happened and I am struggling to deal with it in a productive and “let it go” kind of way.

It all started out quite well – I had waited (or perhaps procrastinated) almost 2 years to finish my tattoo – so yesterday was a big happy day for me. I had been to the studio a few times before and always loved the welcoming friendly service from the staff (and yesterday was of no exception). Unfortunately, walking out of the tattoo shop, that feeling had completely turned around. I should have said something, I should have trusted my instinct and said fuck this, but instead, I let myself be talked down to and treated like the work I was getting done was irrelevant. The artist was disinterested in the work (I admit it was a simple addition).There were no questions about the backstory or history of the work, (for those who know me, it is a piece with a story, tho many would not consider it an epic piece – it is not a sleave of flowers or abstract swirls, no thematic style or extravagant detail – but each stroke of ink means something to me and that – imo, is more important than having a generic looking piece of ink on my body) ….

Any attempt at communication with the artist was shut down quicker than the words could come out of my mouth. Everything I asked for (which REALLY wasn’t much) was disregarded as not possible or ‘wouldn’t work’. I am not sure why I continued on with the appointment – part of me felt pressured, I felt like my voice would be challenged (or ignored – perhaps I didn’t want to cause a conflict….) nonetheless, I approved the stencil, the placement, the sizing and the fonts, but I wasn’t … happy …the fonts were not quite right, the sizing was bigger than I had wanted (and not in a cool its bigger sort of way like my last one), the placement was a bit squishy w/my existing tattoo, and worse of all, I got no joy out of the process like I usually do (the interaction – what there were – with the artist were terse and condescending) and this morning, the day after, I feel a slight tinge of regret. There is nothing inherently wrong with the addition to my tattoo – it *is* what I asked for / handed the artist on paper – but I was hoping to engage with him, to talk it through get feed back and work through perfecting it together – it is what I have done for the last 3 tattoos I got, and I always walked away much happier than I would have imagined.

Don’t get me wrong. I am happy that it is done. It looks good, the work is crisp/sharp for the msot part, I did approve it before the needle touched down (unfortunately, I can see I will have to go back for touch ups already as a few strokes/lines missing in the coloring) — but I am sad that I am not over the moon that its done. I am sad that I am not staring at it excitedly, but instead looking at it critically – but most of all, I really regret not waiting to go the artist who did the original work – even if he did move well out of town.

And so today, I am struggling with how to reconcile regret. I don’t regret getting a tattoo, I sort of in some sad way regret how it turned out. I wrote requesting the contact information for the studio manager, hoping to at least express my disappointment in a productive manner. The lesson I did learn was no matter how good a tattoo artist’s portfolio is, if he is a dick, walk out before you let them permanently ink you. The client/artist dynamic means a lot more than I thought it did. I knew right off the bat that I was uncomfortable. I should have trusted myself. Lesson learned. Now to figure out how to let go and be happy with the (now not finished – as I need to add something to balance the sizing) product.

A Few Good (Casual) Games

I love match three games and I am not ashamed to admit it. While I wait for Candy Crush to get off their butts and make more levels, I have been defaulting on my old favorite Bejeweled. I have been playing it for as long as I can remember (at least since my mid-EQ days!) – but I enjoy it so much more on the ipad – swiping makes the game so much more “zone-out-able” …. (hey, all games have their purpose!)

Match-three (or more) with a twist, I really enjoyed Two-Faced by Adorkable Games. Making use of the ability to swipe completely out of screen (onto the other side), adding the Tetris-like mounting pressure – if you let the blocks touch the top or the bottom you will eventually die .. and a few other fun twists. Worth checking out.

If you like match three games, but crave a wee bit more gameplay, a good friend of mine introduced me to Scurvy Scallywags. A match three game with a narrative and a purpose with a sense of humor – the gameplay is quick, simple and engaging enough to be played for more than just filler. And it is currently (or at least as of last evening) free in the AppStore.

Another freebie in the AppSore, although not in the match three category perse- but closely related as a color-match games is Flutter by Sebastian’s Games. Aesthetically soothing and reminds me of Thatgamecompany’s Flower, the game flows nicely and gets surprisingly challenging quicker than I would have expected.

And not quite in the category of casual/match games, but well worth a mention is TAG’s Game Designers in Residence Kitfox GamesShattered Planet:

Punching aliens … for science!

A survival adventure on a dangerous world, searching for the cure for an all-devouring darkness.

In Shattered Planet, you’re a hapless clone sent to document alien species and technologies, or die trying. Mostly, die trying. You could call it a roguelike, or a survival-exploration RPG on an endlessly dangerous planet. You lose your items when you die, but you keep any scrap metal or crystals you find to invest in permanent upgrades, or to invent new items.

Available for PC & Mac – worth every penny if you ask me =)



Looking back at my New Year’s post of goals I had set for 2014, I can’t believe that it is only July and so much has changed. It has been six months since my youngest daughter left for Australia (she will be home in just under 5 months yay!), and my oldest just signed up for her last year of undergraduate classes in Communications … crazy to think of how fast they grow up!

But probably the biggest change so far is – and as almost anyone who would listen knows, I have recently been offered, and accepted a Lecturer position in Game Studies Theory at Brunel University, West London. I am ecstatic that all my hardwork (and the hard work of my colleagues and support network of friends and family) has finally paid off. But with this great news is a big bag of life-altering – mostly awesome changes!  The first of which is moving to the UK! It is crazy to think of leaving Montreal, it has been my home for 19 years! But it is even crazier to have such an amazing opportunity to move across the ocean and experience life in a new place, creating new networks and building new communities.

So looking at the goals I set, this is where I am at halfway through the year:

  • not cry too much when my baby leaves for Australia: Ya, I cried – A LOT – still do when something reminds me that she is not here, but I am told this is normal, so I am ok with it…
  • organize a 40th bday party for my partner (even though he’s not a big party guy): Didn’t end up having a big bash, but celebrations were had nonetheless
  • write two kick-ass chapters with my co-authors: One is sent to the editors, the second one is due in a few weeks…. !
  • complete my Spartan trifecta come hell or high water and maybe get a Mud Hero and Prison Break race under my belt this year: YA – this isn’t happening…. postponed my Season Pass to 2015 – BUT planning on getting my Trifecta in the UK (a whole other goal)
  • keep applying for and hope to get an academic job in my field: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!
  • attend at least 3 conferences: Happy I didn’t qualify this with “presenting” – 1, down, 2 to go!

Perhaps it is time to set a few more goals for this year and see how far I can get! =)

Game History Annual Symposium – Montreal, June 27-28, 2014

Pleased to announce the upcoming Game History Annual Symposium to be held June 27 & 28, 2014 at Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal, 475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, QC.

The 2014 edition of the symposium features panels on the many communities and social practices that define the history of video games: the role of engineers, game designers and store owners, the retro gaming phenomenon, user generated content, marginal themes and the place of minorities, etc. It is our pleasure to welcome four distinguished keynote speakers at the symposium: Tristan Donovan (journalist, author of Replay), Mia Consalvo (Canada research chair in game studies, author of Cheating), Philippe Ulrich (founder of Cryo) et John Szczepaniak (journalist, hardcoregaming101).

Includes the exhibit ‘Micromakers. Early ZX Spectrum Homebrew Development’: In 1982 the introduction of the ZX Spectrum color microcomputer created an affordable platform which catalyzed hobby programming cultures in the United Kingdom. This exhibition will chart notable contributions by hobbyist Spectrum game makers, commenting on the larger microcomputer development scene, and exploring possible connections to contemporary independent game production. (Curator: Skot Deeming; Consultant: Alisson Gazzard).

The Game History annual symposium is a platform to connect media historians, sociologists, museum curators and any other researcher interested in the cultural history of games. The event is presented in partnership with Université de MontréalLUDOV (Lab @UdeM for the Documentation and Observation of Video games)Homo Ludens (UQAM), TAG (Technoculture, Arts and Games research center) (Concordia University) and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

 Access is free!
 For information about the program and registration, please visit our website or our Facebook page


Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer l’édition 2014 du Symposium Annuel Histoire du Jeu, qui aura lieu les 27 et 28 juin 2014 à la Grande Bibliothèque, Montréal, 475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, QC.

Le symposium propose des panels sur diverses communautés et pratiques qui ont forgé l’histoire du jeu vidéo : le rôle des ingénieurs, des créateurs de jeu et des marchands, le phénomène du jeu rétro, la création de niveaux par les joueurs, la place des minorités et des thématiques marginales, etc. Nous accueillerons également quatre conférenciers invités : Tristan Donovan (journaliste, auteur de Replay), Mia Consalvo (Chaire de recherche du Canada en jeu vidéo, auteure deCheating), Philippe Ulrich (fondateur de Cryo) et John Szczepaniak (journaliste, hardcoregaming101).

Inclut l’exposition ‘Microfabricants. Les débuts du développement ‘fait maison’ sur la ZX Spectrum’: En 1982, l’arrivée du micro-ordinateur couleur ZX Spectrum a engendré une plateforme de création abordable, qui a agi en tant que catalyseur pour la culture des programmeurs au Royaume-Uni. Cette exposition s’attachera à retracer les contributions importantes des créateurs de jeux amateurs sur Spectrum, proposant un commentaire sur le milieu du développement sur micro-ordinateur, et explorant les connections éventuelles avec la culture actuelle de création indépendante. (Commissaire: Skot Deeming; Consultante: Alisson Gazzard).

Le symposium annuel Histoire du jeu est un lieu d’échange pour les historiens des médias, les sociologues, les journalistes, les conservateurs et tout autre chercheur qui s’intéresse à l’histoire culturelle du jeu. L’évènement est présenté en partenariat avec l’Université de MontréalLUDOV (Laboratoire Universitaire de Documentation et d’Observation Vidéoludique, le groupe de recherche Homo Ludens(UQAM), le groupe de recherche TAG (Technoculture, Arts and Games) (Université Concordia) et Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

 L’accès est gratuit!
Pour plus d’informations sur le programme et l’inscription, veuillez visiter notre site web ounotre page Facebook