100 people you MUST follow on Twitter

Twitter is full of so many funny and amazing people. But sometimes it can be hard to find the diamonds in the rough. Or someone good will get milkshake ducked and turn out to be a horrible racist or something.

Never fear, I’m here to help. Here are the only 100 people you need to follow on Twitter to have a good time.

  1. @cookywook
  2. @cookywook
  3. @cookywook
  4. @cookywook
  5. @cookywook
  6. @cookywook
  7. @cookywook
  8. @cookywook
  9. @cookywook
  10. @cookywook
  11. @cookywook
  12. @cookywook
  13. @cookywook
  14. @cookywook
  15. @cookywook
  16. @cookywook
  17. @cookywook
  18. @cookywook
  19. @cookywook
  20. @cookywook
  21. @cookywook
  22. @cookywook
  23. @cookywook
  24. @cookywook
  25. @cookywook
  26. @cookywook
  27. @cookywook
  28. @cookywook
  29. @cookywook
  30. @cookywook
  31. @cookywook
  32. @cookywook
  33. @cookywook
  34. @cookywook
  35. @cookywook
  36. @cookywook
  37. @cookywook
  38. @cookywook
  39. @cookywook
  40. @cookywook
  41. @cookywook
  42. @cookywook
  43. @cookywook
  44. @cookywook
  45. @cookywook
  46. @cookywook
  47. @cookywook
  48. @cookywook
  49. @cookywook
  50. @cookywook
  51. @cookywook
  52. @cookywook
  53. @cookywook
  54. @cookywook
  55. @cookywook
  56. @cookywook
  57. @cookywook
  58. @cookywook
  59. @cookywook
  60. @cookywook
  61. @cookywook
  62. @cookywook
  63. @cookywook
  64. @cookywook
  65. @cookywook
  66. @cookywook
  67. @cookywook
  68. @cookywook
  69. @cookywook
  70. @cookywook
  71. @cookywook
  72. @DaveBensonPhill
  73. @cookywook
  74. @cookywook
  75. @cookywook
  76. @cookywook
  77. @cookywook
  78. @cookywook
  79. @cookywook
  80. @cookywook
  81. @cookywook
  82. @cookywook
  83. @cookywook
  84. @cookywook
  85. @cookywook
  86. @cookywook
  87. @cookywook
  88. @cookywook
  89. @cookywook
  90. @cookywook
  91. @cookywook
  92. @cookywook
  93. @cookywook
  94. @cookywook
  95. @cookywook
  96. @cookywook
  97. @cookywook
  98. @cookywook
  99. @cookywook
  100. @cookywook

Enjoy.

What’s the deal with online petitions?

Petitions are weird. On the one hand, they’re part of a healthy democracy – the people making their voice heard when other channels have failed them. They definitely have their place.

But they’re also pretty bonkers a lot of the time.

For a long time I’ve been suspicious of the efficacy of online petitions. Sites like change.org seem to be churning out hundreds of petitions daily, and you’ve got to wonder… what’s the point? How often do petitions actually change anything?

Are petitions a symptom of so-called slacktivism? Where people thing they’re making a difference, but in the most low-effort/low-impact way possible? And, even worse, is there a danger of online petitions snowballing into quasi-witch hunts? (I’m thinking of those petitions you get that demand companies fire employees who’ve done something Twitter has decided is bad).

But rather than attempt a serious discourse on whether or not petitions are bad (my position in one sentence: mostly harmless and sometimes good), I thought I’d rather do the MUCH FUNNIER THING of just digging up some funny ones. Stuff like these –

And yeah, I’ve personally signed all of those.

Change.org has a great section where you can browse by most recent. And that’s just great for finding bananas ideas. Here’s some I’ve dug up in the past –

But these aren’t real petitions. They’re directed at nobody in particular, or at least, no democratic entities. Let’s have a look at what people are actually petitioning their government for.

Sadly, the UK Parliament Petitions website is no longer accepting submissions because the recently general election screwed things up for everyone. But there’s still some gold to be mined from their archives.

There’s a lot of this kinda stuff –

But thankfully for every one of those, there’s one of these –

907 people signed that one. 907! The Government was not obliged to respond and so it has closed.

There’s something absolutely mad about letting people have their say about things. I know that’s literally an argument about democracy, but just look at this…

Like what. There’s a good argument to be made about making the HoL more accountable (though I think a fully-elected Upper Chamber would be a disaster, cf. my Year 13 Politics Coursework). But I don’t think any constitutional expert has ever, ever, ever considered the possibility of a ‘House of Heroes.’

The petition itself goes on to explain what this would mean. “The new House of Heroes will consist of 100 members, who will be known as ‘My Honourable Hero’. Of these 100, 33 will be “Everyday heroes”, 33 from the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, and 33 Heroic National Treasures, plus 1 speaker to moderate

So, instead of a body filled with specialist industry experts free to scrutinise upcoming legislation without the pressures of fixed-term service, the proposal is to let this job be done by ‘Everyday Heroes.’ I can’t quite determine what this would involve, but presumably it’s something like nurses, soldiers, firemen. The ‘are lads and ladies‘ that ‘should be paid footballers wages‘ you often read about.

I dunno if it’s a good idea to be honest. But hey, democracy is all about debating ideas. 100 people thought this was a good idea. But it too got closed.

This one was almost certainly a joke. But I like that someone in government still had to look at it, read it, reject it, and write a response. What a good use of everyone’s time.

What a disgrace.

I like ones like this, where it’s not that the idea is deliberately stupid, but rather betrays an absolute misunderstanding of the system. It’s not ‘get enough votes and this will definitely happen.’ It still has to be debated by Parliament and all that stuff.

But just imagine. Theresa May logs onto her Government Petitions account to check out the day’s business. The ‘Deport Theresa May’ petitions has reached x number of votes. “Well,” she says, “I guess that’s that then” and proceeds to start packing her bags.

I think that’s enough for you to get the idea. Yes, petitions can be a good way of making your voice heard on a particular issue that falls outside the general scope of an election (or even a referendum). But in opening up the door for everyone to have their say on every topic, you invite chaos. Not everyone understands how governments work, and how policies are implemented. The system won’t work if it has to bow to the whim of every individual.

And I really, really don’t want us to bring back the death penalty after Brexit.

Minions Cakes (or, Why Does God Hate Us?)

I did this before for Shrek cakes and it remains one of my favourite things I’ve done. So I’m recycling content like a madman, and turning my cynical eye to the world of Minion cakes.

Yeah, Minions. Those little yellow tic-tac creatures that are beloved by everyone below the age of five, and loathed to the very depths of Hades by the rest of us. They’re a pretty popular cake design these days, which is probably helped by the fact that they’ve got a very simple design. Just make a big yellow oval, give it some big eyes, whack on those dungarees they all wear for some reason, add a dumb smile, and boom – you’ve got yourself a Minion cake.

And yet somehow, people are still screwing this up.

We start with this great example. And it’s easy to see where they’ve gone wrong. They went against protocol and went for just the minion face instead of the full body. But then they decided they wanted to do the body anyway? And so the entire lower portion of the body – dungarees and all – is squeezed into the lower 3% of the cake? The proportions of such a creature in reality would be horrifying.

They’ve also made the odd decision to show the Minion bearing its teeth. This only adds to the unsettling feeling that this is not a Minion, but some kind of child-devouring monster.

I can only assume that this was made by someone who’d never seen a Minion before, but had it described to them over the phone, but there was some atmospheric disturbance causing issues on the line, so they couldn’t quite make out what the person was ordering, but they tried to go ahead anyway. Sorry, Evan. I’m very sorry.

This is a real Hall of Fame-r. My best guess is that its somehow collapsed in on itself. As if the weight of having to exist as a Minion cake was too much for this collection of atoms to take, and they spontaneously decided to give up. This deflated mound of what-was-once-cake, though ugly in itself, really resonates with me. It’s a perfect representation of how I feel at all times; deflated internally, but somehow still smiling.

This cake was designed by the text-align formatting options in Microsoft Word.

Wow. This is what you get reincarnated as in the next life if you have an England flag in your Twitter pic in this one.

I mean, it’s not horrible. It’s just… abhorrent, abominable, appalling, awful, cruel, disgusting, dreadful, eerie, frightful, ghastly, grim, grisly, gruesome, heinous, hideous, horrendous, horrid, lousy, nasty, scandalous, scary, shameful, shocking, terrible, and terrifying.

I’m gonna need to hear a pretty solid argument that this is even meant to be a Minion at all. It came up in the Google search. But it could genuinely be anything.

This one is perfect. Don’t change a single thing about it.

This one just feels lazy. You’ve clearly not been bothered enough to make a proper Minions cake, but you’ve still gone to the effort of putting a moustache on it. And yet the moustache isn’t very good, or even straight. Strange, and confusing.

LOL

Ok, so I’m 99% sure this is actually Spongebob Squarepants. But I’ve only just realised that Spongebob is literally just a minion. They’ve squared off his corners and changed his dungarees to… chinos? But he’s literally just a sea-minion. Can’t believe I never noticed this before.

I do not agree this this person nailed it.


Ok, so what have we learned from our overview of the world of Minion cakes?

Nothing. Cool. Bye.

Things You Need In Addition To Love

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.
All you need is love. All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Ok, so this is demonstrably untrue.

There are many things you need in addition to love.

1. Oxygen

This is the big one. The body requires oxygen as a kind of combustion source to break down food into energy. Without oxygen your brain cells start to die off pretty quickly (other cells in the body not so much). So that’s pretty important.

I guess you could also add ‘respiration’ in general to this. The act of breathing is also about removing carbon dioxide from your body. You don’t want that hanging around or I guess you’d just suffocate. So yeah, Beatles, BREATHING is really important. Y’all not gonna mention that?

2. Food

Can’t get energy if you’re not eating! Food is our energy source, and is required to literally fuel our lives. I guess you can technically remain alive without eating (we do it daily between meals), but you’re not gonna last more than a few days if you go entirely without.

People have reported living for up to two months without food. But you do get really, really hungry. So I wouldn’t really even call that living. You need to eat.

3. Water

Ah, water. Now water you can’t go without for more than a few days. The body is constantly using up water for all kinds of things; sweating, respiring, that kind of stuff. They say our bodies are about 50-60% water, but I don’t know where it is. I guess in the feet or something. I dunno. But you need water.

4. Warmth

Get too hot and you’ll burn; too cold and you’ll freeze. I know right, it sucks. You’re only ever a couple of tens of degrees away from certain death.

It gets worse. The human body temperature is a steady 37C. But if that drops to just 35C you’ve got hypothermia and bits of you will start falling off. Upwards, between just 37.5C and 38.3C is considered hyperthermia. You’ll start feeling dizzy, your heart will go nuts, and you’ll generally just have a bad time. Then you die.

So when I say ‘warmth’, I really just mean a nice stable temperature that doesn’t change too much.

5. Sleep

God only knows why we sleep. Something to do with the body needing to recharge, or the mind having to process stuff. Anyway, we gotta do it.

The record for going without sleep is somewhere between 11-18 days. But you’re not really having a good time. Sleep, guys.

6. A functioning immune system

Yeah, there’s lots of bug and microbes out there constantly trying to kill you. So if you’re immune system isn’t up to scratch you won’t last long. This is why auto-immune or immune deficiency diseases are so rough. Even a common cold can wreak havoc.


And that’s about it, I guess. And you don’t even need love. Many people live without love, so we can remove that from the list.

Let’s return to the song.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time. It’s easy.
All you need is oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and a functioning immune system.
All you need is oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and a functioning immune system.
All you need is oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and a functioning immune system, oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and a functioning immune system.
Oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and a functioning immune system is all you need.

Much better.

Review: Risk Legacy

Risk Legacy is the greatest board game I’ve ever played.

COOL THANKS FOR READING BYE.

Nah, I’m gonna write something proper here. Because I think Risk Legacy is a game that everybody should play.

Spoiler Warning, maybe? It’s best played with absolutely no knowledge of what actually happens in the game. But I’ll just be talking about gameplay mechanics, etc. Just don’t look too closely at the photos if you’re worried about that kinda thing.

But what is Risk Legacy, anyway? Isn’t it just plain ol’ boring Risk? No.

Risk Legacy ain’t yo momma’s Risk. It’s an arduous campaign of death and destruction that demands your blood, sweat, and tears. It’s a game that you have to literally sign before you start, swearing that everything that happens from that point on is your own fault. It’s a game where your mistakes come back to haunt you forever. And it’s so much fun.

The basic idea is this: the classic territory-domination gameplay of Risk, but with ‘legacy’ elements. By ‘legacy’, we mean that the outcomes of previous games affect future ones. Found a city in a region in one game, and it’ll be there the next game. Ten games later that might the stronghold that everyone’s fighting for. Real choices with real consequences.

There’s personalisation elements: winning games gives you the option of naming cities and continents. And there’s destruction: cards are literally torn up and discarded. Permanently. The game chews you up and throws you out, but you’re also doing the same to the board. The resulting wine-stained, food-encrusted, scribble-laden board is a unique treasure.

Then there are the boxes. Every game should have boxes. These are sealed compartments within the game’s case, only opened once certain conditions are met. And their contents literally change the entire game. I remember one in particular had us all screaming for ages, and we never scream out loud. The only letdown with this element is that a few times we played in a way that would specifically lead to a box being opened, because we loved them so much, rather than them naturally occurring in the game. But it’s such a great concept I don’t even care.

With a campaign of 15 games to play, and a playtime of a couple of hours for each game, there’s hours of entertainment to be had with Risk Legacy. Alliances are formed, rivalries develop, and – most of all – memes are born. Oh my god, the memes. For instance, dice rolling is a large part of the combat, and we ended up using a massive Oreo tin as the arena for these rolls. Somehow it became known as “The Thunderdome” and I still call it that to this day. Or how we would all raise a glass and toast “to the game!” at random intervals.

There’s not much else to say about this game other than I wish I could erase it from my mind and play it all over again. The game works in such a way that you could keep on using your board for endless games after the campaign is officially done. But that feels somehow profane. Our completed board is a sacred thing, and shouldn’t be desecrated by ersatz imitations of previous battles. I proposed burying the board in the garden, but that wasn’t a popular idea.

I guess the elephant in the room here is Pandemic Legacy. Somehow this is the one that everyone always talks about. If you don’t know, Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative disease-battling game… with legacy elements! (Risk Legacy came first by the way). I’ve also played a full campaign of Pandemic Legacy, but it just didn’t do it for me in the same way. It couldn’t scratch that itch.

I’ve been trying to figure out why it didn’t compare, and I think it’s because PL is co-operative while RL is PvP [player vs player]. There’s something about everyone trying to beat each other over the course of 15 games that I really love. A clear winner emerging and everyone temporarily banding together to bring them down. There’s power dynamics at play that a co-operative game, where you all win or lose together,  just can’t have. I’d recommend both, just Risk Legacy first any day.

So, should you play Risk Legacy? OH MY GOD YES WHY AREN’T YOU PLAYING IT ALREADY? Just invite me to come play too.

100 ways in which life is like a box of chocolates

Forrest Gump’s mother is quoted as having said that life was like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re gonna get.” This is demonstrably false. Chocolate boxes typically come with liner notes detailing exactly which chocolates you’ll be getting. And even if you lose that, or it doesn’t come with one, it’s very unlikely you’ll encounter anything wildly different to the kind of chocolates you’d expect to get in a box of chocolates.
But the simile itself is a promising one. “Life is like a box of chocolates…” It’s just let down by the resolution. We can do better. So, here’s one hundred other ways in which life is like a box of chocolates.
  1. It makes a lovely gift.
  2. It may contain nuts.
  3. Not everyone likes the coffee options.
  4. Old people won’t let go of them.
  5. Melts in the sun.
  6. Sometimes there’s another layer underneath the first one.
  7. More expensive after Brexit.
  8. Really tasty.
  9. Too much can make you sick.
  10. Makes you fat.
  11. Comes in all shapes and sizes.
  12. Superficially different, but all the same on the inside.
  13. We’d be better off without it.
  14. Worth a bit less after Easter.
  15. Bad people don’t like the dark ones.
  16. There’s a lot of wasted packaging.
  17. It’ll make your teeth fall out.
  18. Looks nice with a ribbon on.
  19. I’m always happy to have one.
  20. They are both featured in the film Forrest Gump.
  21. They are both associated with Coronation Street.
  22. Both are in the title of this blog.
  23. They are words in the English language.
  24. They contain both vowels and consonants.
  25. I regret attempting to write a list of things that link them.
  26. No refunds.
  27. People come back from holidays with them.
  28. Philosophers debate their meaning.
  29. High sugar and fat content.
  30. I like them.
  31. Enjoyed all across the world.
  32. You shouldn’t let anyone shame you for having one.
  33. At least hundreds of years old.
  34. Excessive amounts are bad for you.
  35. Gives you spots.
  36. Can eventually make you depressed.
  37. Go great with milk.
  38. Best stored in a cool, dark place.
  39. Found in abundance at airports.
  40. You can find the best in Belgium.
  41. Improves with age.
  42. A common craving.
  43. Most people only get one.
  44. This list is about them.
  45. Historically related to the Aztec Empire.
  46. Very romantic.
  47. Poets write about them.
  48. Can’t think of one for this number.
  49. This is number 49 in a list of things relating them.
  50. The film Amelie is kind of about them. I don’t know though, I haven’t seen it.
  51. Precious.
  52. Beautiful.
  53. Makes people happy.
  54. Can make you feel guilty.
  55. The exterior doesn’t always reflect the interior.
  56. Starts off well-ordered, but ends in chaos.
  57. Runs out eventually.
  58. Ultimately just a bundle of chemicals.
  59. Accept no substitute.
  60. Best shared.
  61. You can really overthink them.
  62. Can seem dark sometimes.
  63. Nothing to be afraid of.
  64. Knows no language or borders.
  65. Filled with fudge.
  66. Just a little bit chewy.
  67. You can’t put a bit back after you’ve taken a bite.
  68. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  69. Not to be taken too seriously.
  70. Lots of fun.
  71. Surprisingly expensive.
  72. But don’t worry about the cost.
  73. Sad if empty.
  74. Turn it upside down and everything falls out.
  75. Some are bigger than others.
  76. Don’t compare yours to anyone else’s.
  77. A terrible thing to lose.
  78. It’s never too early in the day to enjoy some.
  79. Pairs well with red wine.
  80. At Easter, the village vicar will attempt to link the two in their sermon.
  81. Money can help you acquire more.
  82. People want to know its meaning.
  83. Can take you by surprise.
  84. My guilty pleasure.
  85. Enjoyed all over the world.
  86. The source of countless arguments.
  87. Worth celebrating.
  88. Non-vegan.
  89. Suitable for vegetarians.
  90. Just really nice.
  91. Some people spend their whole lives looking for one.
  92. Non-Recyclable.
  93. Bad for the environment.
  94. Heavily taxed.
  95. A luxury.
  96. The rich have it better.
  97. Dogs shouldn’t eat them.
  98. All too fleeting.
  99. Unlikely to survive above 100 degrees celsius.
  100. Not waterproof.

Amazing! The council read this man’s comment beneath a news story, and now they’re changing their entire policy!

Yes! It finally happened. After this local resident left a comment underneath a news story, the council have announced that they’re changing their entire policy direction. After years of people saying it couldn’t be done, the critics are now having to rewrite the rulebooks, as this story turns everything we thought we knew on our heads.

When Cambridge City Council introduced plans to introduce an access charge to central roads in the Romsey area in order to help curb congestion at peak times, one man took a stand. Mr John Pevensey was sick of democratically elected officials making decisions on behalf of local people, and he just had to say something.

In a statement to cookywook’s blog, Mr Pevensey said: “Look, I’m all for cutting emissions, but I don’t understand why the council think this is a good idea at all. I don’t have access to any of the facts, studies, or expert opinion that the council does – but I do have a car. And I like to drive that car wherever I want, even if I don’t need to. That’s my right, right?”

He continued: “I pay my council tax just like everyone else. That means I’m literally paying the wages of the council. Which means they literally work for me. Which means they’re not allowed to do anything I don’t like. That’s how the system works.”

But what was the comment that changed everything? Underneath the article on the Cambridge News website, Mr Pevensey wrote:

ife had it wiv the concil (more like CLOWNCIL) tellin us how 2 live are lives. they shud NOT bring in this plan. its a bad plann! i h8 it so much.

The quote sent shockwaves through the city council halls. One city councillor is reportedly still off sick after apparently having become violently ill on reading  it. Needless to say, the council is having to rethink its entire strategy.

An inside source told us, “it’s just…. we’ve never seen anything like this. It’s chaos, just pure chaos. How could we carry on after a comment like that? It’s too much.”

The withdrawal of the policy is expected to cost thousands of pounds in fees,  but the good news is that Mr Pevensey is once again free to drive his car down the main road during rush hour. But he’s keen to not let the power go to his head. “I’m no hero,” he said, “I’m just a man with a keyboard who took a stand.”

Mr Pevensey is 40 years old, unmarried, and lives with his mother.

What’s the deal with so-called industry experts?

You’ve seen them at conferences. They’ve tried to add you on LinkedIn. They’ve got a new book out about how digital marketing will change the world. They are: the industry expert thought leader blah blah blah. They are the worst.

The industry expert is a white, bald, middle-aged dude with glasses. There are no exceptions to this rule.

They don’t actually work anywhere themselves, but they somehow know everything about every company in their industry. They obtain all their information via psychic osmosis as they hibernate in their thought-pods.

They are about forty years too old to understand social media, but they’ll tell you how Snapchat is the new big thing. (They’ve been saying this for about five years now). They’ve got about 600 followers on Twitter, but they talk about ‘growth hacks’. And all they ever tweet is boring articles nobody will ever read.

They bounce from marketing conference to marketing conference, presenting the same deck, fielding the same questions, sitting on the same panels. This is their full-time life. Their talk is called something like ‘‘Building a winning Content Strategy – and why it’ll be the most important thing you do this year!’‘ and it’s full of absolute non-insights.

“Listen to your customers!” – wow. Never thought to do that before.
“Your users are on social, so you should be too!” – much wisdom.
“Check out this ad everyone’s already seen a hundred times.”
“Zappos!”

Stop encouraging them. They post absolute garbage and people who don’t know any better just lap it up.

The snake oil salesmen of yore have evolved. They used to sell affliction-curing tonics that didn’t do anything, now they’re getting paid shedloads to tell you how to do something that nobody understands. Don’t attend their workshops. Don’t buy their books. Don’t follow them on social networks. Just don’t engage with them at all.

Follow me instead. I know all the real secrets anyway.

Review: thegrid.io

Making a website is hard. That’s why I use Squarespace for mine. I’ve tried learning how to do it myself before, and the results were…. ugly.

But what if there was another way? Not having to learn to do it yourself, but not sticking to a boring old template either? In this age of AI assistants and machine learning, shouldn’t websites be able to design themselves in interesting and unique ways? Well, that’s exactly what thegrid.io offers.

When I first heard about The Grid, way back in October 2014, I signed up right away. I paid like £50 or something to be a ‘founding member’, which meant having early access to the beta or something. I was never quite sure what I was getting exactly, which didn’t really matter – because it took FOREVER to roll out.

It wasn’t until October 2015 that I actually got my beta access. Yup, a whole twelve months of sitting around and wondering what they were doing with my money. Sure, I get how software development works, and stuff. But maybe they could have waited a bit before starting to take orders for something that didn’t exist? ANYWAY, this all meant that my expectations had substantially waned and I’d just built myself a MVP version of a personal website.

But since I actually had a beta invite to play around with, I thought I’d give it a shot. Aaaand, it didn’t quite live up to even my adjusted expectations.

I mean, there’s a lot to like about it. It does the hard work of things for you. No worrying about building mobile-friendly sites – that’s all handled. You can tell it roughly the kind of font style you want, and it’ll try some things out. Give it a colour scheme you like, and it’ll make it all look very pretty. Play around enough, and you can make something quite beautiful and professional-looking.

It did have a nasty habit of notifying me EVERY time it made a change to my website though. With both a browser AND an app notification. That was pretty annoying. But the real trouble I had with it is that I had no idea what it was for.

Take WordPress for instance, it’s pretty well set up to do a couple of things. You can just straight up build a website with it, if you know what you want. Or you can make yourself a blog, like I did. I’m using more-or-less an out-of-the-box implementation for that here. I’m using a default WordPress theme, and only a couple of plugins that help with out with some stuff. It does the job well.

With Squarespace, and other template-based sites, you’ve again got a decent framework to start off with. Are you trying to show off a portfolio of photography? Great, here’s a preset template. Same with building a website to sell stuff. Templates are unoriginal, but they’re a structure.

With thegrid, you just have to kind of feed it… stuff?

You give it links, files, or text, and it goes into it a weird limbo of draft posts, which you can then publish and they end up somewhere on your site. It’s kind of confusing, and I’m never quite sure what to give it. It seems to be able to handle most things ok, but I’m not sure what I’m trying to do.

Like, I just gave it a few photographs I’d taken recently, and it made them into a carousel. I didn’t ask for that, and it looks reasonably cool. But what if I didn’t want that? What if I preferred a grid? I don’t really get a choice. Same with the layout of the site, I don’t seem to be able to say what goes at the top versus bottom. So, right now the top thing on my site is a link to a Medium post. It doesn’t look great, in my opinion. Plus who has just like links to external blog posts as the top thing on their web page?

So, it doesn’t do the kind of things that I’d expect a website maker to do well. Like, here’s the text editor on the upload function:

It’s very very very simple, nothing more than what you’d get on a forum or something. And what kind of posts would I be writing? Is this for just little text blocks? Or is it meant to handle long-form blog entries? I have no idea.

It’s the things like this that I can’t get my head around. I just don’t know what to do with it. Whereas with my actual website, I own and know the structure. There’s a section for my poetry, a bit for my writing, a list of gaming projects I’ve got. The layout is logical and I can understand it. With my Grid site, I don’t know why things are as they are. And there’s no structure beyond the very superficial. You can make a nice homepage, but I don’t feel it’s the tool for creating your own entire website.

Here’s how my site currently looks:

There’s plenty here I like. The colours are cool, I like the font sizes, and the buttons have a modern look and feel. I didn’t pick any of this, it kind of just decided for me. Of all the images I’ve uploaded, it’s also gone with monkey-in-a-cage as the header. I mean, sure, Mr AI Assistant, if you think that’s a good call then I’m with you. But I dunno if I would have picked it. Or maybe I can change that, and I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m never quite sure when it’s updating or when it’s decided it likes the current layout.

So yeah, I have mixed feelings towards The Grid. I like the concept, and it’s fun to play around with. But I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone who’s serious about making a website. At least, not if they want to fully control and understand their site.

As a last note, I’m totally unclear on the pricing. I’m not quite sure if I’m still paying for it or not. My ‘founding member’ payment must have gone towards something, but I’ve also received lots of emails offering me ‘lifetime membership’ if I pay them such-and-such now. I haven’t done that, and nothing seems to have happened with my site. So yeah, I can’t really speak to how much it even costs – if anything. So watch out for that!

If you give it a go, lemme know. I’m still interested to see what people make with it. I might just occasionally chuck on things I’m proud of. If only to see what it does to them.

Behold, the desolation of man!

1. And lo, the devil did weep. For the halls of hell ran empty. And he was alone. The evil from below overran the ground above and was free. 2. And Man himself could not weep. They writhed as animals in the mud and fields. 3. God had forsaken the Lands. His all-seeing eye did blind itself with scorn, and gazed upon the Lands no more. 4. Strange voices were heard in every corner, but They could not see whom was speaking. The women and children gave themselves up to darkness when they no longer had the strength to carry on. 5. Soon, the Men too had lost their wills. Each took his turn to fill the grave. 6. The last Man said a prayer to the Heavens: “Lord, forgive us. We knew not what we were doing. We sought but merriment, and did not mean for damnation.” He shed a tear, and leapt into the Depths. 7. The World was dead.