Not Martha

Kinder Surprise Egg A Day, Day 2

While I’m in the UK I’m getting my Kinder Surprise fix by opening an egg a day.

Today we open a pink egg. But the blue egg from yesterday and the pink one were bought at a Tesco Metro grocery store.

Pink. Big surprise.

What is it? What is it?

It’s a hair clip. Despite being so very pink and girly I found it surprisingly gratifying to have constructed my own hair clip, even if it did just snap together.

· comments [4] · 10-16-2013 · categories:kindereggaday ·

Kinder Surprise Egg A Day, Day 1

There are very few things from the UK and Europe that aren’t available in the US. We have Lush, Muji, Uniqlo and even a Boots aisle inside of Target. But Kinder Surprise eggs remain illegal to sell or even bring into the US. So I’m going to open an egg a day in order to get my fix.

The first day we were out I looked for Kinder eggs in the usual convenience stores that we found ourselves in but there weren’t any. I asked the shopkeepers if they carried them and they were all surprised to find that they were out. I took this as bad news and by dinnertime I’d decided that there was probably a worldwide shortage and that I was doomed to remain egg-less during our whole trip. Doomed. Luckily I found plenty of Kinder eggs in a larger grocery store the very next day. Crisis averted! I bought both boy and girl eggs, why does there have to be a difference? Here is my first one:

It’s a nice bright car but it doesn’t do anything special, no spring loaded wheels or launch-y bits. It doesn’t even roll that well. The sheet included with this one comes with a scannable code that I assume does something, except that when I went to the site (which shall be unnamed) it told me the site wasn’t available in this country (I don’t know if it thinks I’m in the US or the UK) so I changed the country to Belgium and now all I see is a page that just says “ooops!” with no option to change anything. We will never know what was behind the secret code. Which is fine, I’m sure it’s just a coupon or something.

Tomorrow, a pink egg!

· comments [34] · 10-15-2013 · categories:kindereggaday ·

XOXO 2013

I was thrilled to be able to attend the XOXO Festival in Portland this year. It introduced me to a bunch of cool stuff, here is what caught my eye:

This is a beer brewing system that is controlled by your iPhone. I just spent the summer learning to brew beer and I have an iPhone so of course I’m terribly interested. It’s made by Cargo and the people are thrillingly passionate about it. They are in the last days of a Kickstarter and I am cheering for them. I spoke to a homebrewer with 20 years of experience about what he thought about Brewbot and he didn’t hesitate to say that if I was going to invest in a homebrew system an automated one like Brewbot would be the way to go. (I’m not going to ignore the fact that it’s expensive though, it certainly is.) They just updated their Kickstarter with news that they can make the system more customizable, and brewers like to tinker and try things out just because. I cannot wait to see how this evolves.

Photo by Natalie Seery, borrowed from

Johann Sebastian Joust
Do you know about this already? I didn’t and it was great. Teams of players hold wands of different colors, they can move slow or fast according to changes in music being played. If you move your wand too quickly your light blinks off and you’re out. The goal is to attempt to make players of the other teams move their wand while keeping yourself in the game. It was really fun and everybody was really good sports.

Panic Founders’ Room
The offices of Panic have a hidden room called the Founders’ Room that is super duper awesome. It’s hidden behind a wall panel and it reveals a tiny proper den. There is even a hidden panel inside the hidden room that reveals a secret bar. I love a good hidden room. Related: We were also invited to the offices of Weiden & Kennedy where the Nest that was made famous in an episode of Portlandia is located. It’s a real thing.

Werewolf game
This is a game for a large group of people. It’s based off of Mafia using Villagers and Werewolves instead. You can view the rules over at maxistentialism. At XOXO the groups paying this were large and boisterous, anybody who spoke up was subject to suspicion and those who didn’t were questioned heavily. During one session a guy who played the Doctor quietly sat just outside of being singled out and when he made an unusual move it was thrilling to know that those of us watching knew but that nobody playing the game knew that he knew things they didn’t. It was a huge amount of fun to watch.

Photo grabbed from the XOXO video linked to below.

The Doubleclicks
During Max Temkin’s talk The Doubleclicks got up to play “Imposter”, a song about the Mars Rover feeling like it wasn’t good enough for it’s important job. I’m a big fan of theirs (we’re talking house concerts here) and it was a delight to have them pop up unexpectedly. You can view Max’s talk here. While I’m linking to videos go watch one for The Doubleclick’s song Nothing To Prove about being a geek girl.

This has been on my radar for a while and they had the consoles on sale at XOXO so I finally got myself one. The console itself is itty bitty, it’s a cube about the size of a large apple (the good Honeycrisp sort). We fired it up at home, started a few games and contemplated bring it with us on our trip to the UK. Now that we’re here and just spent a sick day inside the tiny studio we rented we really wish we had brought it. Especially because we can hear our downstairs neighbor playing GTA5 and I’m having console gaming envy. I cannot wait to see how OUYA develops.

Largely though the conference for me was about people, it was great to meet people who I’ve followed online for years, great to talk with old friends and great to meet new people. XOXO is often compared to SXSW circa 1999 and I found that to be true, except this time around I’m not too shy to talk walk up and introduce myself to somebody. (I’m still very awkward though, don’t get me wrong.) I feel like I took more away from the conference than I gave to those I encountered and if I have the chance to go to XOXO again I would figure out a way to reverse that.

Some other great moments? Getting to see Rael introduce a game he developed to a few seasoned game makers to enthusiastic response, I’ll be waiting for Zombie Princess to come out. Also, being introduced to Cocanu chocolates, the Gardel bar has Fernet in it. Yum. Also, getting to (finally) meet Jennifer Robbins and learning about the Artifact conference she is part of organizing. It’s all about teaching web designers more about how to work with mobile, and since I left my coding skills back in 2003 I could really use it.

· comments [0] · 10-13-2013 · categories:events ·

Headed to the UK!

We are headed to the UK! We’ll be there for a month doing a live/work/travel/freaking out thing. I have a few goals for while I’m there:

  • Drink Scotch in Scotland. (Easy.)
  • Go through a hedge maze in England. (Pretty straightforward. Or twisty.)
  • Eat a Liege waffle in Belgium. (Only requires a train ticket.)
  • Find a four-leaf clover in Ireland. (Miiight be a challenge.)

If anybody reading this happens to live in Belfast and would be interested in meeting up please email me, I’m going to have a bit of free time while I’m in that city and I’d love to say hello.

We’ll be hitting all the tourist things as we do a loop from England up through Scotland and down to Ireland before heading to London but if anybody has any recommendations on extraordinary things going on that I should do my best not to miss or eat or buy or gawk at please let me know. I’m planning on going on lots of brewery tours, opening Kinder Eggs, staring at really old buildings and being that horrible American driver going too slow because I’m afraid of terrified on the other side of the road. Sorry about that last one.

I’m so excited!

· comments [36] · 10-1-2013 · categories:travel ·