Welcome to issue 004 of Transmissions.
No preamble this time.
Let's get straight to the fun stuff - like games.
As a designer, sometimes I buy things because they look awesome. It’s literally my job to judge a book by its cover. The first-ever game to show up in Transmissions is one of those acquisitions. After playing it I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, this game backs up its stunning design with fantastically fun and geeky gameplay.
It is now into its second edition. Awesome for them that it’s been such a success. But I love the first edition and its gorgeous metal tokens that bring to mind the Gallifreyan language of Doctor Who.
I didn’t grow up in a board gaming family. We had them around the house, for sure. What family in the 80s didn’t? But nothing like my wife’s family. They are hard-core board gamers. Every Christmas getting a new game and spending the day gathered around the table playing. Over the years (and especially over the last 18 months, I’ve grown to love playing board games of all sorts. It’s super easy these days with another amazing game release around every corner and contained in every Kickstarter email. As a matter of fact, one of their other games was my first Kickstarter backing.
It’s super easy to pick up and really quick to play. Which, for a father of 3 with 2 companies and a full-time job, that’s all I have the bandwidth for most of the time. A great game with a design that begs to be displayed on the shelf. Where could you go wrong?
Project Hail Mary
3 days later I wanted to tell the world about it.
But I had months before its March 2014 release date. Thankfully I don't have the same “problem” with Weir’s third novel, Project Hail Mary.
2013 was a year of adventure. Having moved my family cross-country, to a city we’d never visited, knowing not a soul who lived there. We were crammed into a tiny apartment, figuring out a new job, all with 2 children under 3. I’m not sure where I found the energy to “read for fun,” but I blew through The Martian faster than any book I had in a long time. Through trying to describe the book, I discovered a fantastic band name: Sarcastic Astronauts.
2021 finds me in a very different place. Busy and exhausted for a whole set of different reasons. But I burned through Project Hail Mary just as fast. With the wife out of town the same weekend I picked this up, there was no one to suggest I turn the lights out and go to bed when it got absurdly late.
It’s been years since I pulled my head out of a book only to find myself in the early hours of the morning, suddenly dreading the alarm.
The scope of this story is exponentially larger than either The Martian or Weir’s second novel, Artemis. The stakes are direr And yet, the telling seems lighter, more upbeat. Less cynical, than either of his previous works. The “hard” science fiction is as present as ever, but there’s also a sense of joy that seems to permeate the whole book.
All that to say. If you like The Martian. Go pick up Project Hail Mary.
As a designer and illustrator, I’m always looking for new tools to translate what’s going on inside my scattered brain into something communicable...or at least semi-understandable.
Thanks to Jeff Sheldon over at Ugmonk, I’ve discovered my new favorite mechanical pencil. That may sound trivial to you, but for someone who’s spent my life trying to find a drawing instrument that’s a perfect fit is Quixotic at best.
From the moment you touch the packaging to the first time you set the graphite to paper, this feels like a legit, lifetime-of-use product.
The 12-sided milled aluminum barrel feels fantastic in the hand and won't go anywhere when you set it down. HMM is a Taiwanese design studio that makes some fantastic-looking products, and if the quality this pencil exudes says anything about the rest of their products it will not be the last thing of HMM’s to end up in the studio.
This pencil will be integral in designing the next product release for Meteor. It may have already had a “hand” in some initial ray gun sketches for the big 5-year kick-off release coming this fall.
Jon Batiste and Friends
The term “Jazz” often elicits strong emotional responses. It’s such a small word for such a broad classification of music. I think that’s why some people have a negative reaction to the term. Because they’ve run into a form of Jazz that’s just not for them, or it is perfect for them. Some jazz is easy to take in. Some really is not.
That’s one of the reasons I love Jon Batiste’s music. He makes Jazz so accessible. So fun.
And fun is what we all need more of these days. Jon Batiste's latest release, We Are, is full of music to get the toe tapping and the fingers snapping. My kids can't stop dancing to "I NEED YOU" from that same album. But there's one performance of his I keep coming back to.
Every time I watch this, it makes me smile. Not only is the music upbeat and good clean fun, but the joy these musicians have for the music they are playing...it’s contagious. This is one of those performances I will always wish that I had been in attendance.
Thanks again for hanging out with me for another issue of Transmissions. Issue 005 and 006 have some amazing things for you. I can't wait to share them in the coming weeks.
As always, if you have something that you think the Meteor community would appreciate, send ideas my way.