What a ride 2022 proved to be. From grappling with the spicy cough at the start of the year to re-integrating into a new-look workspace, many of us have found this year to be one of rapid change without too many breaks to recoup. Team Ruby Assembly enjoyed a cracking year in many ways, with wonderful and genre-defining work for our clients, experimentation in terms of design and use of social platforms, and building deeper relationships with our key collaborators. It’s been a blast. And we’re so glad to be finishing up the year in our very own office at Good Axe! This year’s Christmas Annual is a ‘choose your own adventure’ from each member of our team, including a darkly funny piece on ‘the bad bird’ by Katherine Allan, travel tips in style fron Janice, cosy gaming favorites from Iolanthe, best reads from Alex and top four films by Marion.
Season’s greetings to all; we wish you a peaceful and healthy holiday season and an easier 2023.
It’s a Christmas miracle! Elon Musk is planning to step down as CEO of Twitter because of… the results of a Twitter poll that he started.Inspired by this, frankly, hilarious news, let’s explore the year that was over on everyone’s favourite “Bad Bird Site” (as the brilliant artist and writer Elyce Phillips once coined it.)
We’ve all felt buyer’s remorse, that nauseating feeling telling you that you didn’t need the thing you just spent a month’s rent on. You scan the receipt (if you even kept it), but there’s no return policy (sounds illegal, but ok.) It doesn’t matter because you are too embarrassed to take it back anyway (that quirky shop assistant thought you were cool and would SO be your friend in real life!!) So instead, you appoint yourself as CEO, fire everyone (even the person with the keys to the building) and tell yourself that everything is fine even though Mario is giving you the middle finger and everything is on fire.
In 2022, Elon Musk bought Twitter for 44 billion dollars. To say that watching the Elon Musk era of Twitter unfold has been like watching a car crash in slow motion would be an understatement. You would have to imagine it as a clown car, with a My Family sticker on the back, blown apart by more bullet holes than Bonnie and Clyde’s death car, being driven by a maniacal, narcissistic, misogynist loser with the essence of a man stuck in the body of a baby, stuck in the body of a man, stuck in the body of a…
Even then, you wouldn’t be getting the complete picture.
Twitter has been on a sharp decline for years, losing all credibility in 2016 when it continued to give another maniacal, narcissistic, misogynist loser a platform so large that it caused irreversible damage to the world. Twitter has never been able to rid the app of the horrific abuse many users churn out. It is truly incredible how much hate can fit into 280 characters. I have no idea if Twitter will survive 2023, and, just like Elon Musk, I am not the right person to make such an informed decision. What I can decide are the ten best moments on The Bad Bird Site in 2022.
- Celebrating the Queen’s life in a tasteful and dignified manner
- Don’t Worry Darling premieres at the Venice Film Festival to rapturous spit from Harry Styles onto Chris Pine
- Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars (yes, that was this year), and for 24 hours, Twitter is filled with more art than the NGV
- Liz Truss says she’s never leaving, then resigns as British Prime Minister. Twitter reacts, once again, in a tasteful and dignified manner
- This thread of people confessing which moments from The Simpsons they thought were real (“and that’s when she realised that they weren’t little girls… they were Little Women” ISN’T FROM THE BOOK?!!!)
- The Try Guysfire one Try Guy for having an affair with a Try Guy employee even though everyone thought he was a Wife Guy. (No, I will not be taking questions.)
- Renaissance. That is all.
- Twitter unravels after learning that most of our favourite celebrities are Nepo Babies
- This song.
- Mario gives everyone the finger (it truly deserves another mention)
Merry Christmas to everyone! Except for Elon Musk. Please retire, hun.
2022 was a full on year. So it’s little wonder that I really dove into ‘cosy gaming’ as a way to relax and lose myself from the day’s responsibilities! Cosy gaming is a particular genre of gaming that has grown in popularity; the most famous title you’d know from this category is Animal Crossing which was a big hit at the height of the pandemic! Cosy games can be on all platforms, but they’re predominantly found on the Nintendo Switch. What the Switch lacks in processing power (read: graphics) it really makes up for in fun and a wide variety of inventive indie titles. Cosy gaming also has its own aesthetic of comfort, with Instagram accounts from leading cosy gamers featuring cute mugs, blankets, kawaii desk gaming set ups, scented candles and soft lighting. It’s not what you might imagine when you think about a gamer’s environment! Here are my favorite ‘cosy games’ of 2022 – many of which I’ll continue playing well into 2023.
Dreamlight Valley is my way of getting to Disneyland minus the flights and jetlag. And sure, it’s no stroll down ‘Main Street USA’ – but being able to create my Disney-fied character, dress them up in the best of Princess garb while hanging out with Moana, Goofy, Merlin, Ursula and more is a blast. It’s a ‘farming’ game, which means you’re doing some fairly mundane tasks – but it is so relaxing and packed with mini-rewards that keep you playing. It has seasonal themed adventures too; the Christmas ‘Festive Star Path’ has put me in the holiday spirit.
This is a classic title that gets many non-gamers into the hobby! My husband introduced me to Link’s slightly-depressing but magical solo journey through Hyrule a few years ago, and I’ve been playing it both alone and with him for some time. As a title, Breath of the Wild really illustrates the pure depth of story and emotional immersion a game can offer its audience. As the lead character, Link, you are free roaming the world of Hyrule meeting its various citizens and coming to know their creeds, politics and preferences. The sheer size of the legend is gargantuan and very satisfying; it is genuinely comparable to Tolkien’s ring trilogy. Breath of the Wild is a world unto itself, and one I enjoy visiting regularly.
You play as a Scout who has arrived on an island full of anthropomorphised ghost-bears. What’s not to like? Cozy Grove feels very ‘real time’ – when you open the game it reflects the time of day you’re playing and there’s regular changes of weather. Like Dreamlight Valley, seasonal stories and in-game accessories are also a part of the play. It’s incredibly satisfying, as every time you help a ghost-bear with their tasks or needs, the island springs to life with color, new animals and opportunities for adventure. It’s a sort-of farming game, with a focus on asset management; the kind of game you’d play for 30 minutes every couple of days which suits me perfectly.
Like many games in the cosy genre, Beacon Pines looks like a game for kids – with cartoon critters a-plenty and cute towns to explore. But these games are made by pandemic and economic-crisis wearied millennials and the dialogue and plots are spicy. Dealing with a slew of tricky topics from bullying to abandonment, struggling with otherness and actual horror – Beacon Pines is very much a ‘choose your own adventure’ in an adult mode that really sneaks up on you. To share more would be to spoil your experience!
Cosy games I’m frothing over for 2023 include FaeFarm and Harvestella.
2022 has been truly memorable for me, it was unlike any other. I finally cashed in my annual leave and booked a 3-week trip to Europe! Unlike other avid travellers, I have only travelled overseas once in 2014 and to the U.S. And so, I was adamant to make this trip count! Cos if it took me this long to organise a holiday, who knows when the next one will be! The catalyst for the trip was a wedding, so after a quick stop in London, my partner and I headed to Oxford to celebrate the occasion. We then flew to Lisbon (our favourite part!) before visiting Paris and Amsterdam and heading back to Melbourne.
Now that travel is back – and it’s actually easy, I thought I had to apply for visas and spent an hour on the phone updating my vaccine certificate only to never needing to present it – I reflect on some of my favourite tips to take into my next trip:
It’s okay to not be minimalist! Pack that spare outfit and your cosmetic bag full of skin care in your carry on. You never know when your plane could be delayed and you miss your connection in Dubai! Plus, travel bottles are adorable and give you a fantastic reason to use a label maker. I rate these transparent Cee Clear bags, and these adorable travel-sized bottles from Sephora. For my carry on bag, I used this Siena Weekender from Nordace as it was the most spacious without taking up too much of your 7kg. You may have seen Iolanthe rocking the backpack version to the office!
Instagram is cool and all, but a low-key local dish that will not pose for your photos is honestly the way to go! I don’t think Paris’ Pink Mamma (I was not organised enough to book months in advance) would’ve handed out free bread refills, either. And I loved those free bread refills! If you’re on a walking tour, just ask the guide for their best recommendations – they’ll help you avoid the tourist traps like a pina colada served in a pineapple (it was too big and sticky, if anything!) and find hidden gems that you’ll still think about to this day.
Some memorable favourites: Fumeiro Santa Catarina (delicious seafood in Lisbon), Du Pain et des Idees (pistachio flavoured escargots in Paris), Winkel 43 (apple pie and tea in Amsterdam).
Don’t take Melbourne coffee for granted though, ours is actually the best.
It’s worth it to splurge a little on accommodation. Just a little! My partner and I opted for slower travel where we’d spend more time in one place and really get to know it. Our Lisbon apartment was so spacious and gorgeous that we’d head out in the morning, come back to rest in the afternoon, before stepping out for dinner fully recharged. I also recommend joining money-back programs like Shop Back or Cash Rewards – it takes a while to redeem but we actually got hundreds of dollars back from hotel bookings!
For me, 2022 was a year of big and exciting changes. It also happened to be a year of resurgence for a pastime I love dearly – reading! With recommendations from friends, Facebook book clubs and of course my literary coworkers, I’m proud to say I broadened my reading horizons, laughed, cried and was deeply moved by the books that made it onto my shelf. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here is a list of some of those books I read (and loved) in 2022!
This was a book that felt like it was everywhere, and after finally giving it a go, it became my favourite book of 2022! Reid’s storytelling and crafting of Evelyn’s life in old Hollywood, as well as the revealed connection between her and protagonist Monique was fantastic to read. Evelyn Hugo is a character filled with complexity, strength and vulnerability – I was truly moved by her unexpected story. A must-read!
Eleanor Oliphant was a recommendation from a coworker who has wonderful taste in reading and watching material, so this was a no-brainer. The way that Honeyman writes how Eleanor Oliphant sees the world is emotionally challenging, yet absolutely captivating to read. At first glance, Eleanor seems odd, isolated, routine-orientated, and perhaps too rational for most of the people she meets. But as we uncover details about the traumatic events she endured as a child and young adult, we, and the close acquaintances in Eleanor’s life, soon begin to see her as she truly is; a human being craving the love, connection and acceptance that she was wrongfully deprived of. An important, uplifting story. Trigger warnings for the book can be found here.
As someone who is able-bodied with no proper sense of what living with a disability in our society is truly like – let alone doing so whilst raising a child – I wanted to read this book in the hope of being better informed about the disability community. Needless to say it was greatly diverse in its stories, cultures, identities and experiences of disability through the lens of parenting. Whilst acknowledging the organizations and people that act as true disability allies, this book also gave important insight into the fetishization, ableism and everyday pity the disability community faces. Not to mention the constant criticism and questioning of their rights to be parents. An enjoyable, important and necessary book.
100 Days of Brave is the practical, candid and informative roadmap to launching your business in 3 months and authentically living life on your own terms. I loved this book for many reasons; it is thorough, passionate, analytical, creative and empowering. But most of all, it does what a roadmap should; direct and prepare you for the journey ahead – as well as for any roadblocks you might face along the way. To read this book is to be accepted into a community of like-minded people, ready to share ideas and celebrate your journey one chapter at a time. Plus the book cover is gorgeous and will elevate your bookshelf beautifully!
Here’s to a year of smart, talented authors, and may 2023 be an even bigger year for my library card!
Watching movies is a BIG hobby of mine. From high- budget animated powerhouses to pulpy horror and alternative comedies – I love it all! Here are four of my absolute favourites for this year. Note: not all of these were made in 2022, but I think you should watch them if you haven’t already!
Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022 – directed by The Daniels)
My favourite film of not only this year but of many, many years. With a unique protagonist Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn this exceptionally paced textbook example of beautiful multiverse madness is in essence a story of a woman finding her place in her life and her world (among many, many others). Not to miss, it is literally EVERYTHING!
Baby Done (2020 – directed by Curtis Vowell)
While this movie came out two years ago, it is essential thirty-something viewing – with some deeply relatable themes for those ‘not quite ready’ to start a family. Rose Matafeo is Zoe, a national-level tree-climber with lofty ideals of world championships. Navigating baby shower after baby shower and watching her friends settle down, she is dead-set not having the domestic life, with bigger plans on the cards. What happens next is a beautiful shambolic romp of missteps and chaos. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and you’ll probably ugly-cry, I know I did! Ten extra points to Griffindor for Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) as Tim, Zoe’s long suffering boyfriend.
Fresh (2022 – directed by Mimi Cave)
I can’t share my favourites without at least one horror entry. So it shocked me that this little cannibalistic vehicle can be found on Disney Plus of all places! Starring Daisy Edgar-Jones as unlucky in love Noa, as she crosses paths with a man of… interesting tastes (Christian Grey eat your heart out) this film will have you deleting all your dating apps by the closing credits – and looking for more films starring Daisy Edgar-Jones.
Don’t Worry, Darling (2022 – directed by Olivia Wilde)
It had to be done. What is quite possibly the most talked about movie of 2022, and does it live up to expectation? Well, yes and no. Florence Pugh plays Alice, a clever and dutiful housewife living in a pristine isolated town of Victory. It’s incredibly on the nose – Pugh is constantly wearing a velvet black ribbon in her hair, and she’s trapped in a Wonderland where everything is… too perfect? If you listen hard enough in the quiet moments you can actually hear Olivia Wilde patting herself on the back for this hot thematic take. However, The film is worth watching for Pugh’s performance alone, she elevates every film she appears in and I’m very excited to see what else is in store for her in 2023.