While The Cat’s Away

While the cat’s away, the mice will play. That’s what they say. Well, that’s what Bernie Horowitz says anyway!

toy safari: Gary Larson
“You, Bernie Horowitz? …So YOU’RE the ‘they’ in ‘that’s what they say’?” – Gary Larson

Toy Safari Blues

This past week, Shelly’s been off, gallivanting around in San Francisco at the Toy Photo Safari. And while she’s been away having an amazing time, I’ve been stuck here, keeping the home fires burning, slaving over a hot computer, looking after you kids!!

Although I haven’t really been alone. And I kinda got to experience the Toy Safari, thanks to Instagram Stories and following the #sftoyphotosafari tag.

Ah Stories! Up until this weekend I’d not understood the merit of them. Majority of the ones that headline my feed were “look at my new toys”, or “check out my new post”. Hang on! Don’t I follow you? Isn’t your latest post in my feed? On a photo and video sharing platform, why do we need a separate mechanism to share our already shared media, again?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that post are getting lost in feeds because of the cursed algorithm. I don’t begrudge folks who use the Stories feature to alert their followers to a new post that might be lost. And yeah, I get that Stories are shared to non-followers through the search menu, and that might drum up some new business.

But honestly, up until now, I’d found this “feature” a confusing one, that I’d only really seen as a mechanism for self-promotion. Its purpose was lost on me? I’d never really seen stories. Up until this weekend, that is!

toy safari: "Thanks for the story lols!"
“Thanks for the story lols!”

Toy Safari Stories

This past weekend, through the stories of the Toy Safari gang, I got to share plane flights to San Francisco. I got to be a hitchhiker on road trips across the U.S. marvelling at the scenery and sharing the frustrations of alien petrol pumps. We shared burgers at rest stops along the way. I was invited to sleepovers. Picnic lunches were had as I stared at my phone screen, just as they all did. Safari attendees invited me to rummage through their boxes of toys and check out their cameras. Faces were revealed from behind the lenses. I was invited behind the scenes and got to watch as toy photographers helped toy photographers take photos of toys.

The story of my life, a big fork and the sharpest knife
I guess this solid bridge leads me on to the nearest fridge
Millencolin – The Story Of My Life

Toy Safari Plans

I know that what I experienced through the #sftoyphotosafari tag and shared Stories from attendees, will never measure up to actually being there. However, this past weekend I learned a few things as I sat at home, missing out on all the fun.

  1. The Instagram Stories feature can be useful…to share stories!
  2. My piggy bank for next year’s toy safari, is already greedily ingesting funds.
  3. There is NO WAY I’m missing out on future toy safaris!!
toy safari: "FEED ME!"

Thank you to all the San Francisco toy safari attendees who shared their photos and their Stories. The 8000 miles or so between us disappeared as you invited me to join you. Thanks.


Were you, like me, following the adventures of the San Francisco Toy Photo Safari over the weekend? And, like me, are you also making plans to be at the next one?

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  1. One very cool thing about the Toy Safari and your inability to attend… it lead you to create the awesome photos included in this post. That piggy bank one in particular is disturbing, but also very, very, cool!

    The folks that attended have also made some amazing images and clearly had a great time doing so. It has also be great to put some faces to the humans behind the photos in my feed.

    What an awesome little community you folks have built!

    • brett_wilson

      Thanks mate!
      It was with great excitement, and a tinge of jealousy, that I followed their shenanigans this past weekend.
      Putting faces to names is always great! There’s a chance to do that next month in Melbourne at the next #brickstameet on the 24th. Maybe we’ll see you there?

  2. priovit70

    Hahaha! I really enjoyed your post! And I really loved that Larson’s vignette you used (I’m a HUGE fan of “The Far Side”)…
    The photo is amazing, even if that piggy bank is a little disturbing…
    I definitely want to join one of the next ones! 😉

    • brett_wilson

      Thanks Luigi. We all should start making plans for the next one! I know Shelly is already thinking of locations.
      And who doesn’t love The Far Saide? Larson is a genius!!

  3. Pinar

    I was exactly like you! Starting from Saturday, I was telling everyone around me (which is my dad and my sister) that there is a Toy Safari right now, people are meeting, oh it’s so wonderful and so on. And although I would give anything to attend one in the future, there is a huge minus for me: Getting a visa for whichever country it’ll be in next. Well, I guess I’m still (kinda) young. Who knows, maybe it’ll happen one day!

    PS: I loved your photos for this post, especially the one with Benny and the cat 🙂

    • brett_wilson

      Sharing the excitement from afar is good. Attending would be amazing! I’m already making plans for next year’s Safari!
      And thanks for the compliment on the photo. 😀

  4. I guess I was one of the “IG stories” poster for this weekend and I am glad you enjoyed them.
    I am like you and don’t really understand the point of most stories on IG, but I use it from time to time to share interesting experiences that I live. This toy safari (which was awesome by the way) was the perfect excuse to use that IG feature.

    • brett_wilson

      You were! Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your experience. The stories feature has puzzled me since it was introduced. But this past weekend, I finally saw it used…for stories! And what wonderful stories they were! Maybe we can share our stories next year?! 😀

  5. Brett, Im glad that someone was watching those IG “stories”! I saw a few being made and I felt like I should be doing it too! But damn, I wanted to take a few photos and enjoy the scenery. Next time, for sure!! Of course next time, you will be able to create your own!! 😀

  6. hahahaha “Alien Petrol Pumps” of California is right! Glad we could give you a little taste of the Toy Safari through IG Stories! When not used for redundant content, I think Stories is a wonderful way to share and experience one’s world outside of what they post, or a BTS of the process of what they post. I love them and find them pretty entertaining.

    Looking forward to meeting you someday, in the U.S. or Down Under!

    • brett_wilson

      Your stories gave me the most joy from the weekend. Thanks for letting me hitch a ride with you both. That weekend opened my eyes to how valuable and entertaining the stories feature can be, when used to tell stories. And yes, here or there, it’s something I’m looking forward to too.

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