Posted by admin on Dec 31, 2015 in geekery
, Strange events
People as a rule, are big fans of combining sports to create something new and wonderful — think trampoline dodgeball, chessboxing and artistic cycling. But the latest fitness mashup pushes ingenuity to new levels. Archery Tag is a cross between laser tag, dodgeball and paintball, and combines hand-eye coordination with the thrill of hunting — but in this scenario, you are both the prey and the hunter, which involves running and shooting people with bows and arrows.
Indiana-based John Jackson developed archery tag in 2011 after being inspired by foam pieces at a product meeting. He wondered, wouldn’t it be fun to “put these on an arrow and shoot [each other] with it?” then went home and 3D-printed prototypes. And afterward discovered that it was really, really fun. He posted a YouTube video demonstrating the game, and received so much interest that he trademarked the name, and started licensing out his equipment.
The rules of archery tag vary from location but the basic tenets involve two teams of five people facing off across a tennis-sized court, a 20-foot safety zone between them. When the whistle blows, the goal is to hit your opponents and knock out their targets. Each player is equipped with a custom recurve bow, arrows and a face mask (for safety). Read more…
Posted by admin on May 23, 2015 in news
, Strange events
The cannabis “medible” industry is gaining more traction every day (for people who eat their weed) and I was curious to see what creators in the space were up to. A convention is the perfect place to see industry connoisseurs, and 420 tends to have gatherings forming across the states. I chose to go to Hempcon 2015, a large cannabis exhibition event held at Cow Palace in San Jose, six miles south of San Francisco. The three-day event took place from the 17th-19th April 2015, the dedicated 4/20 weekend (naturally) and I attended on the Sunday.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana – almost two decades ago, in 1996 – and as a new resident, I was intrigued as to what Hempcon would offer me. It’s not the most famous expo ( I’d wager The High Times Cannabis Cup has that that honor) but it has been running since 2010, and holds events across the country. Read more…
Posted by admin on May 18, 2015 in Animal Oddities
, Strange events
It is a scene ideally suited for Medieval times. A dark knight adjusts his visor, raises his lance and focuses, laserlike, on his opponent, the “white” knight, sitting astride his mount. The flag goes down and they charge, lances straight, bodies tensing against the weight of their custom-fit armor — often 200 pounds of solid steel. The bout, though, isn’t old; it’s happening at the Scottish Highland Games & Celtic Music Festival in Mississippi in November. And lest anyone forget that we are in modern commercial times, Guinness (one of the festivals sponsors) has its logo on both knights’ armor.
Looking for a new form of entertainment, or considering the next crazy physical challenge? Jousting is growing in popularity in the U.S., both at Renaissance fairs and formal tournaments. One of its leading advocates is Canadian-born Shane Adams, who captained one of the teams at the Scottish festival. For years, he used to set up his own jousts, but he wanted the sport to be taken seriously, so in the 1990s he competed and twice won a jousting event at ScotFest in Colorado. “The style of jousting was white armor,” he says. “That means you wear 100 pounds of chainmail.” So far Adams has broken his hands, wrist, and dislocated his shoulder. And there are reports of jousters dying. But Adams wants the sport to stay physical, he believes it won’t get respect if it tries to be “historical.” Read more…
Posted by admin on Apr 12, 2014 in Animal Oddities
, 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 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 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.
Posted by admin on May 21, 2013 in Design and Home
, Strange events
Say what you will about Barbie, but that girl knows how to market herself. Sure, I could bash the notion of a pink themed house filled with physically disproportionate plastic dolls wearing skimpy size -Zero clothing, but you guys are smart, and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Instead, I’m looking at the giant pink behemoth that is the Dream House (a European version in Berlin and another one in Florida) and getting a big case of pink-eye. Modelled on Barbie’s Malibu Dream House (would have been interested to see the architects blueprints) the Berlin DreamHouse opened May 16th, 2013 and features 2,500 metres squared of pink frothy stuff you can touch, taste and obviously. buy. Well, Mattel isn’t a charity right? The Florida DreamHouse (opened May 8th, 2013) is pretty similar to its European cousin. Both offer ‘life size’ rooms (well, it’s a house) decorated with everything a Toys-R-Us child is familiar with, on an adult scale.
What I think is pretty cool about this is the RFID pink wristband all visitors receive on check in. The DreamHouse offers interactive experiences at the ‘Dream Stations’, allowing a semi-custom adventure. By this I mean that you input details such as name, gender and language and then the bracelet will interact with you AND the LED touch screens around the house.