inner monologue

series 1, episode 6: easy as @-β-¢ 🏳️‍🌈

Previously on reni recommends:
is there a cat in the sink? 🐾, meow-ley quinn ♦️

Helvetica is now a senior citizen
Way back in the 1950s, two Swiss men set out to design a smooth, unimposing font. They created that very font in 1957 and called it Neue Haas Grotesk. After perhaps many befuddled stares of bewilderment, they renamed the font three years later to Helvetica, birthing one of the most popular fonts of the modern type era. The font can be quickly spotted in use in logos (American Apparel, Nestlé), on clothing and in public signage around the world, including ViennaChicago, and the UK. To celebrate this ever-cool type clocking up six decades, 20 design studios have created uniquely beautiful posters featuring the Helvetica font.

You say Slovakia, I say Slovenia
Turns out there’s a lot of confusion between these two countries that have kinda similar spelling. Those shared letters have thrown these two lands together to be continuously muddled up by many, even Presidents and Prime Ministers. So to clear up the case of mistaken identities: Slovakia’s flag is coloured with white, blue, and red horizontal stripes, with a shield emblem on the left-hand side, while the flag of Slovenia is coloured with… Um… Ah, they are almost alike. Well, okay, Slovenia is part of the European Union, United Nations and NATO, while Slovakia…is also… a part of those very same organisations. I know what will help: languages! One of Slovakia’s native languages is Slovenčina. And one of Slovenia’s native languages is… Slovenščina… You can see why the Slovak and Slovenian embassies meet once a month to exchange wrongly addressed mail. The Slovakian and Slovenian Ambassadors have also stepped in to inform people of the differences between their two states. I wonder if Uruguay and Paraguay get this a lot too.

Check out more of this reni recommends. ✨

series 1, episode 5: the big meowski 🐈

Previously on reni recommends:
jeremy corbWIN 🍺, all hail bus queen 👑

A cat in a wrap getting birds in a flap
When you picture a cat, you imagine a furry feline neatly curled up in a soft and warm place, usually indoors and sleeping for most of the day. Not the case for Eiji, an adventurous cat with a very cosy-looking jacket. After persuading his human to accompany him on winter walks IN THE SNOW, Eiji loves nothing more than to sit by the edge of the pond and yell at the parade of travelling coots. You tell ’em, Eiji.

This litter tray is a whole heap of too much info
Tech enthusiast Tony Tiger (I venture a guess that that is NOT his real name) bought a self-cleaning litter tray for his beloved cat. I kinda get it – cats can poop a lot, maybe you don’t have the time to shovel and sift, robots will eventually take over etc etc. At upwards of £100, a Litter Robot is a lot more than I personally would spend on one item for a cat. Seeing an opportunity for a hack, Mr Tony Tiger hooked up the fancy-schmancy litter tray to a Raspberry Pi and a camera, and set the whole shebang up as @LitterBoxTweets on Twitter. Thanks to Tony Tiger’s keen know-how, the world now knows how long this cat occupied his lavish loo for, the pensive look that crossed his face mid-evacuation, and when the tray’s self-cleaning function kicked in. Everyone has a hobby, I guess?

Check out more of this reni recommends ✨

letting go with lego

For a Friday afternoon: a relaxing activity to let the mind drift and wander while playing with a children’s toy.

1

This is 30474: Reindeer, a Lego set from its seasonal line. Other collectibles from this range include 30197: Snowman, 30186: Christmas Tree and 30286: Christmas Tree. How festive.

The Creator range is “a theme which focuses on the creative construction […] as opposed to playability functions of minifigures as in most other themes”, according to Brickipedia, an unofficial but vast resource on Lego.

“Creator?” I snort. “What a grand title to give to a 6-12 year old!” It’s exactly here that I quietly begin announcing “I AM THE CREATOR” in the style of a WWE wrestler throughout this entire activity.

Shaking the bag, what sounds like the dried eggshells of a thousand broken eggs clatter. There are seventy-seven pieces in this set. I wonder how long it would take to accidentally swallow seventy-seven pieces of Lego if I were an unsupervised child.

2
Probably not long.

The product codes on Lego toys bother the heck out of me. When a child demands of their weary parents exactly what toys they want for Christmas, they aren’t chattering out a series of numbers while frothing at the mouth, like a lottery numbers announcer on cocaine.

There’s an eerie future where we’ve finally allowed robots to reproduce and a robot child pens a letter to Santa in perfect cursive:

“Dear Santa, I have been very good this year. I have completed all directives in a timely and efficient manner. Please can I have Lego items 34453, 45886 and 95832. Thank you and Merry Christmas from 01100010 01101001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 Billy.”

Onward to the build.

The IKEA-style instructions are simple pictures with helpful red arrows signalling where stuff clicks onto other stuff. There are only 21 steps to a complete reindeer. Some steps are even steps within steps! Step-ception. This is the zen moment I’m looking for. The time to let the busy mental rush fall away to the gentle sounds of plastic clicking.

Not exactly. Sometimes it’s easy to pry apart a block with a carefully aimed flick. However, where I’ve gone very, very wrong, I’m pulling apart bits with my teeth (ooh, don’t swallow!) as the form snaps so securely together, the parts may as well have been glued on.

3
There’s some semblance of a body, I guess?

Assembling this newborn reindeer piece by quickly dropped piece, I am drawn to give this 30474: Reindeer a name. (I AM… THE CREATOR!) Without a name, how will it know its place in the world? It is not a number, it is a free reindeer! I look to the two most prominent deer from everyone’s childhood – this is gonna be either “Rudolph” or “Bambi”.

I stare deep into the plastic pile. Rudolph, it – no, he is. I don’t yet earn enough money to fend off Disney’s lawyers.

A few more clicks and I’ve reached the halfway point.

4
Rudolph the Headless Reindeer

Do not panic, friends. Steps 12 through to 19 will sort ol’ Rudolph out with a head. All of the other reindeer may laugh at him for having a red nose but without a head, they are laughing at a festering corpse. The sick bastards.

With a depleting Lego pile of assorted pieces, I noticed that Rudolph might actually end up with three eyes. This third eye would offer a greater degree of vision. A genetic advantage or another reason for workplace bullying?

5
This could be Lego’s subtle homage to Prince (RIP)

Turns out, Lego includes extra pieces just in case your clumsy hands let a piece slip and it’s irretrievably lost between the floorboards.

6
One fresh head.

This would look good in your Lego log cabin, directly over the brick fireplace.

Snap the head into place and there we have it – Rudolph the Ordinary Nosed Reindeer. He’s bedecked with golden bells and exactly two (2) presents for all the kids in the world.

7

He can do sick break-dancing moves.

8

He can ev- oh no!

9
Where’s the nearest reindeer hospital?

And I worked out what those extra bricks are for.

10
Naughty Rudolph

30474: Reindeer – Rudolph to you and I – took me about an hour to assemble and that’s with dropping every brick at least twice so a somewhat chill activity.

Even though I am way beyond Lego’s suggested age range, I was tempted to swallow every single piece.