Posted by admin on Apr 12, 2014 in opinion
, Strange events
I knew that when I moved to America I would be privy to all sorts of things that had previously existed in fiction . I’d heard of creative grooming for dogs, but creative cat styling, a.k.a feline fantasy competitions were a whole new arena.
It’s not easy turning a cat into a flowerbed. Or a devil. Or the pink panther. But for extreme cat groomers — a growing community of pet stylists who compete on a national circuit — the transformation of felines with clippers and dye is worth the long hours of painstaking effort.
In the past twenty years, extreme pet styling has gained some acceptance in the dog grooming world, encompassing seven large scale competitions in the U.S. The cat world however, is new to this phenomenon and stylists are struggling for acceptance. Two organisations- the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers and the National Cat Groomers Institute of America- offer education and training in how to apply creative color. They try and counter PETA’s claims of cruelty with information, but can this battle be won?
These images were taken at Intergroom 2013, an annual animal grooming exhibition in Meadowlands, New Jersey. The cat groomers follow strict rules to make sure that the cats are safe. These include using, “Non-toxic, cat safe color and glues,” and making sure the cats are already groomed before the show. This means that the cats come fully designed, and only touch ups are allowed, potentially so the cats don’t get uncomfotable by all the noise – and all the dogs around.
Christine de Felippo, producer of Intergroom said that these “feline fantasy” competitions have been happening since 2003. “It was our pleasure to introduce the very first Cat Grooming Competition at INTERGROOM 2003. It was met with great interest, several brave groomers, an enthusiastic Sponsor in Kim Laube, and a perfect Judge in Shirlee Kalstone,” she wrote on Intergroom’s website. The competition went on gold for a few years but then started up again, and 2014 saw more entries than the year before.
The designs were very striking and I was amazed by the creative vision of the artists. This is definitely still a small field, a sub-subculture of a subculture, and though it is animal friendly inasmuch as the dyes are safe and the cats are cared for, it’s still hard to know whether the cats enjoy it.
SIDE NOTE: I’m starting to think I should have a ‘animal’ section of this website, as in the past few months it seems that a lot of these types of stories are coming up. What do you think?
All images: Copyright Zara Stone
Posted by admin on Mar 7, 2014 in beauty
There is nothing today that we don’t commercialize in some way. We name children after cities and wine (seriously, people use London and Champagne as names for girls), watch movies full of product placement and have our school classes sponsored by Sprint and Coca Cola. The body is the last bastion of all this consumerism overload, and for some time now advertisers have been coming up with creative ways to let us brand ourselves here. Forget the ordinariness of tattooing brand names on your forehead (creepy, but soo last year) and meet some of the strange but temporary ways to get messages out there.
What is it? Adverts placed in the beards of men, primarily hipsters that draw attention to the brand. These adverts can be clipped on.
Why? Well, when you have a beard everyone looks anyways, so why not commercialize on it? Now that’s “real Native Advertising.”
Who has bought into it? Brands like Dollar Shave Club.
How much can you make? They say they will pay $5 a day for you to wear a beard-board, but quite how they select you is unclear. It was popular last year, when the concept went viral, but though you can still submit an application online, it’s unclear if this is still running. The concept was created a by a marketing firm, but who says this couldn’t go bigger than that? Think Santa.. maybe.
What is it? Commercializing the fine art of the female thigh. Why wear tights when you waste space where you could place an advert? Everyone looks at ladies legs, so why not make money off all those street creepers? Thighvertising is the temporary placement of adverts on women’s upper thighs.
Why? Duh, thighs = money. This is offered by Japanese firm Absolute Territory/ Zetta IPR, and they take girls aged 18+ who can show they have more than 20 social media connections. The women who get approved need to wear the sticker on their thigh for around 8 hours. Read more…
Posted by admin on Feb 21, 2014 in books
I recently read Sheryls Sandberg’s Lean In and have a few thoughts I wanted to share about it. First, the book is not half as intimidating as it looks from the outside. The intimidation wasn’t the title, the cover photo or the feminist message you knew it contained, but the actual size. The hardback size. Bound, big and heavy. The publishers went for the “serious” cash rather than the mass return, and published a book that looked very big and weighty. It looked long. It felt like it would be worthy. It turned me off.
Fast forward a few months and I downloaded it on my Kindle. And I discovered the book is short. Really short. 24% in and I’m at chapter 5. There are eleven chapters. And it’s SO easy to read. It’s essentially a self help book which uses Sheryl Sandberg’s career as a framework. Sandberg is surprisingly honest and open about her personal failings and her family life. She shared anecdotes about crying at work. She revealed her mistakes. She talked about regrets, such as being insensitive to pregnant women (before she’d experienced it). I learned about how she grew up (who knew she was from Miami?), her parents, her sister. I was impressed with her before, but now I like her.
I feel that the publishers did a disservice by releasing a hardcover copy of the book as a lot of people who could have benefitted from this probably didn’t read it. But now that I have – and enjoyed it – I decided that I’m going to break it down for all the people who are to time poor or lazy.
A lot of the lessons in the book are about the way you look at things. It’s about the angle, not the events. Yes, she acknowledges gender discrimination, wage disparity and social issues. But she doesn’t try and make you change the world. She offers practical, useful advice on how to make the best of a flawed situation, and maybe make some bigger changes along the way. I’ve been quoting certain phrases to people, and that’s pretty rare for me, so the following nuggets are ones that stood out for me personally.
This is a question that Sandberg suggest using when approaching a job role you want. It’s not about you- it’s about what you bring to the company. Read more…
Posted by admin on Feb 16, 2014 in geekery
, Strange events
Amurica. Home of the weird, the wild, the oversized. Nothing is more American than the golden arches of McDonald’s, a company that has been going since 1940 and was originally a BBQ restaurant. Today the golden arches stand for fast food, consumerist America and excess in so many ways. But let’s forget the gluttony and saturated fat for a moment and celebrate some pure American excess, with a trip to the world’s largest McDonalds’s…
Yes, the BIGGEST McDonald’s in the world. Seriously. Based in Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World, SeaWorld (or picketing SeaWorld), there is the biggest McDonald’s in the world. It has a bowling alley, a 500 gallon aquarium, arcade games, gift shop and chefs serving you tailor-made pizza and pasta dishes. Plus an ice cream bar. So, we tasted tested, of course. Read more…
Posted by admin on Feb 4, 2014 in news
People love their dogs a LOT . We know this to such an extent that we don’t even need to qualify the statement anymore. But when does dog love turn into needing to let your pet live in a replica of a British double decker Red Bus? Chinese company, Hong Kong Tesla Technology Limited (HKTTL) thinks this is just where your pooch wants to stay, and it’s not a simple red bus, it’s a smartbus codenamed the T-Pai that we’re talking about.
Not only does your BFF get to live a’la Queen Liz (on her day off when she’s slumming it) but every single need your dog might have is automated. An automatic feeder releases food and water at set times and can be controlled remotely via cellphone. The T-Pai has enough space for a weeks worth of food; so if you go walkies, they don’t go hungry.
All their toilet needs are taken care of as well. The T-Pai has an “Auto toilet” which emits a scent that makes dogs want to go, and when they poop, this is what happens: “When the system detects excrement, it will flush and sterilize automatically.” Hands/Paws free. Nice. Read more…
Posted by admin on Jan 3, 2014 in geekery
We hoped for many things in 2013. We were promised these by tech companies, by journalists (oops), by advertisers. Did we get them? Hell no. Where’s the 3DTV in our living room? Why aren’t we 3D printing clothes at home? Why on earth are we still having to fly to Los Angeles from NYC; just where is Elon Musk’s magnetic levitation train? God knows.
Still, we have hope, we have faith, we have wallets.
Technology will continue to change our lives, and we look forward to 2014, a year of immense scientific discovery, technovation and stuff we can never afford.
Here’s the top five technology predictions for 2014 of things that will realistically happen in the tech world. (Originally published on Fusion.net)
3D printing food will become commonplace…but you still won’t be able to afford it
This year 3D printing food became a bit closer to reality. We were already used to 3D printed fashion and had been impressed with the variety of designers out there offering this to us, but food was still a long way away. Sure, we knew that Google 3D printed pasta at their Mountain View cafeteria, but how did that apply to regular folk? However, this year we had NASA announce they would 3D print pizzas in space and saw the launch of Foodini, a prototype 3D food printer that can be used to make multiple things such as ravioli and chocolate.
Downsides are that it prints one ingredient at a time (boo) but it’s miles above previous 3D food printer prototypes which had complicated parameters about what they could and couldn’t make. This isn’t going to be mass produced anytime soon, but as the 3D printer movement got so HUGE over the last year, with hundreds of brands now in the space (MakerBot, ForrmLabs etc.) the cost had lowered so much that you can buy a basic 3D printer for $500.
“With 3D printing food we already have factories and machine parts in place,” said Marcelo Coelho, a research affiliate at MIT who designed a 3D printing chocolate machine called the Cornucopia at MIT as part of his graduate project and who gave a talk on Digital Gastronomy to Microsoft last year. “The challenge is to take a machine used in a factory and enable it to be used in a kitchen, hundreds of ingredients to manufacture.”
Expect to see a resurgence in 3D printed food appliances and associated “food materials” all over the media and Kickstarter. Just don’t expect to be able to afford one…yet. Read more…
Posted by admin on Nov 22, 2013 in news
, Strange events
I find mermaids really fascinating. It’s the combination of tail, secrecy and myth that draw me to stories around mermaids, and the history of sea sirens is long and varied. No matter what culture you look at, there will be a mention of some form of water nymph, whether it’s the 1001 Nights lass, or the Hindu Suvannamaccha.
Sure, the Little Mermaid played a big role in getting this focused in the minds of women today, but there’s more than that. The Little Mermaid may have been bold and bright and curios, but she was also willing to sacrifice her self for a man, and to forgo what she loved to achieve a fantasy. Half admirable, half horrifying.
The modern day mermaids of today are women and men who have chosen to dedicate their life to mermaid-dom. For a segment I co-produced with Ingrid Rojas for Fusion TV, I met with two mermaids – Barbra Wynss from Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, and mermaid for hire, Trina Mason (and also spoke to dozens more) to learn what being a mermaid really means. and how you go about your life.
They had fascinating stories (which you can watch above) and I completely connected to their fascination and obsession with the water world.
For more mermaid good times you can learn about the World Mermaid Awards here (yes, a real thing) and the mermaid mumpreneur who makes a living selling mermaid tails.