Not Martha

links: technology

Monument Valley: new levels on the way | Polygon. Yes!

Tales From The Borderlands nets a nerdy voice cast | Joystiq. I’m pretty darn excited for this game to come out.

Oculus Game Lucky’s Tale Will Blow Your Mind | Game|Life | WIRED. I want to play this.

Ask a Game Dev — Why are so many people demanding AAA titles to be all feminist and stuff when women don’t even buy those games?. There are twice as many gamers who are female and over the age of 31 than there are male under the age of 18, so guess who is spending money on games. Via Andrea Phillips.

How to Make a Light-Up Father’s Day Card | Brit + Co.

Montreal-style bagel – Wikipedia. NOTE: “Montreal-style bagels are currently the only style of bagel to have ventured into space.” Via a discussion with friends.

RINGLY | Smart Jewelry and Accessories. A ring that is connected to your phone and has several vibration patterns and colored lights for different notifications – email, text, Uber arriving. Interesting! Via SwissMiss.

Ravelry and knitting: Why Facebook can’t match the social network for knitters at Slate. I’ve been telling people for years that Ravelry should be studied as the example of an ideal social networking site.

· comments [2] · 06-16-2014 · categories:links · technology ·

Vacation Slides: finding our way out of an English hedge maze

One of my four goals for our trip to the UK last year was the find my way out of a hedge maze so we headed to the maze at Hampton Court which is a short train ride from London. The Hampton Court Maze isn’t the largest hedge maze in the UK but it is the first one planted in Great Britain, dating from 1690. It’s also reportedly the most famous hedge maze so we figured it would do nicely. Being iconic means that the actual layout of the maze is depicted everywhere even on the sign at the entrance to the maze and, I think, printed on our tickets. We tried not to study it too closely, I mean, spoilers. If you want to see an overhead photograph of the maze there is a good one halfway down this page.

This photo was taken by standing on tippy toe and pointing my camera out towards the center of the maze. Meaning, the hedges were taller than they seem in photos.

In the off season the gardens surrounding Hampton Court are free to explore but the maze itself is about £5. Currently the maze page says there is a sound installation but we heard nothing and didn’t see any evidence of speakers so the off-season tickets might not include it, or we were there on day when it wasn’t working.

That tree seemed so far away while we were in the maze.

We were there in the off season and during a weekday which meant there weren’t many people in the maze so we had whole stretches of time where we could almost feel alone and lost. It was awesome.

We reached the center!

The maze itself doesn’t seem very large from the outside, it covers 1/3rd of an acre and has 1/2 mile of trails inside, but it feels far larger inside. Like magic. Most of the paths are long straight stretches that end in an almost u-turn, which is disorienting. We were there to enjoy being inside the maze though, so we sought out every dead end and checked around every corner and when we found the end of the maze we turned around and found our way back to the entrance just because we wanted to spend as much time as possible inside.

It was, happily, a sunny day so we spent a few hours wandering around the gardens. The most decorative part of the gardens was closed because there was a film crew using it. We couldn’t really complain because they gardens were free.

In the center there you can see famous people. Supposedly.

We saw a lot of filming going on in Dublin and London while we were there. Scott works for a company that gathers movie and tv facts so we kept approaching the guards who were there to keep people like us out and asking, all innocent like, what they were filming. Our secret hope was that they would give us the code name that studios often use to make something sound as boring as possible when in fact Big Stars filming an alley scene for the Next Exciting Huge Thing are just beyond the barriers. To our disappointment all of the guards we talked to were very friendly, apologized that they couldn’t let us get any closer and then excitedly told us all about what was being filmed and which huge stars were right over there. In this case the production was an upcoming movie (tv special?) about Stephen Hawking and the two guards helpfully pointed out that if we stood just here we might capture a glimpse of somebody famous whose name I didn’t write down (sorry). They were young and excited to be working in the industry, it was so adorable I forgave them for ruining our game of being media sleuths.

Early version of Cones of Dunshire? Or just the half of the decorative gardens that weren’t closed for filming?

Hampton Court is a quick train ride from London, unless you are us in which case all the train schedules have been shuffled and instead it will be a strange hour and a half of fiddling with incomprehensible train schedules on your phone while desperately hoping you’re on the correct platform. The train schedules might helpfully suggest you go to a further train station and take a bus, but don’t listen to it! The closer train station is a very doable walk over a bridge and onto the grounds. The court itself looks like it’s well worth the ticket price to get to look around inside but we were there with a purpose: hedge maze and then back to London for fancy dinner reservations.

In the off season the gardens are free to wander but the maze itself is about £5. Even if you don’t have tickets to tour the court there are a few rooms you can access that have exhibits about the history of the gardens and the maze. There is also a gift shop and, I think, a cafe.

There were statues in the decorative gardens all wrapped up. It was incredibly creepy.

I had grand plans of visiting more hedge mazes in England while we were there but from the moment the airplane landed both Scott and myself came down with some a form of head cold that was determined to be the most torturous and the least friendly to getting sleep. So when we were stationed in Bristol for a few weeks I had intended to take a few day trips by springing out of bed and catching a very early train so I could wander a maze, have lunch and be back in time for a relaxing dinner. Instead I spent my days sleeping in because there was no other choice, I needed rest. We had hiking and drinking to do in Scotland and Ireland after all! Seriously though, I was convinced I had pneumonia and was close to checking out how the free healthcare works. For the record, I have not come down with a cold in the many months since we returned from our trip so whatever we survived covered all forms of viruses that swept through the US last winter. How do I train myself to catch and fight all the viruses before my next trip?

Hampton Court Maze and gardens are a perfect side trip from London. A little being outdoors and a bit of puzzle solving and you can be back in time for fancy dinner reservations.

· comments [9] · 06-11-2014 · categories:travel ·

links: food

Pitcher Drinks: Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria With Lillet Rosé | Serious Eats. Yum.

Sprinkle Bakes: Fresh Watermelon Cake. What a clever idea!

A Beer Beginner’s Guide to Hops of the World | Serious Eats.

Star Wars Macarons Prove the Force is Delicious at i09. Ok, those are cute.

The Rise of the $8 Ice Cube at Priceonomics.

“Miracle Fruit,” America’s Oldest New Food Trend at Gawker. I was really hoping this story was going to reveal that the Victorians threw scandalous miracle fruit parties, but no. Gawker means this goes all the way back to 2007. I would like to point out that I was one year off on my Mircale Fruit party invitation, I said 2008. Oops.

How to Make a Good Salad Without Dumb Leaves – The Awl. “So let us forgo leaves. Let us not require our salads to rely on our least-favorite ingredient. Let us shape our own salad destiny.”

· comments [3] · 06-5-2014 · categories:food · links ·

links: misc

Death Star Gown | MAKE: Craft. That Star Destroyer handbag!

Feel the Burn: Mailbag! Posture! Desk Jobs!. Exercises good for those who slouch. You can’t see me right now but know that I’m pointing at myself.

5 Details They Cut from My Season of ‘The Biggest Loser’ | “That is the mighty power of the television editor: With enough time and a copy of Adobe Premiere, you can make Mr. Rogers look like a blood-drinking psychopath.”

Flexible Light Helps People Find Keys And Wallet In Their Giant Bags – PSFK. A flat, rechargeable purse light with 24 LEDs. Want! via Girls of a Certain Age.

Cool Tools – What’s in My Bag? Christopher Michel. A frequent world traveler shows which items he keeps with him at his seat in the plane. I do something similar, it’s so calming knowing I have everything I need to block out noise or charge up without digging through a bag at my feet.

Infinite Trees – The Colossal Shop. So simple and so lovely. Should this actually be a Christmas link?

Wonder Woman Costume Designs We’d Love To See On The Big Screen, at i09. Some of these are great, recognizably Wonder Woman but a bit more badass.

Engineer Prints from Photojojo. Huge 3′ by 4′ black and white prints for your home, shipping is included in the $25 price. I have a plan.

Douglas Adams’ Guide To Interspecies Sex Getting Published At Last, at i09. These will be the unpublished works that were on paper, whereas The Salmon of Doubt was what was left behind on hard drives. As somebody who found the tapes of the original radio series at my library and listened to them obsessively when I was in high school I’m stupidly excited.

· comments [4] · 06-2-2014 · categories:links · misc ·