Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Go ahead and eat candy til you're sick. I know I will!

(Above: The creepiest photo of all time. I've been saving it for a special day!)

My Secret Fear: EGGS


I have long been of the opinion that nothing good can come from a chicken butt. As a result, I have not touched an egg since I was seven years old. Why seven, you ask? I had barely reached that tender age when a particularly malicious nanny forced me to eat . . . gag . . . an egg salad sandwich. The result was not pretty. Though it did make a rather interesting pattern on her pink sweater.

What's my problem with eggs? Let's start with . . . everything. Their size, shape, smell, taste, origin (again, chicken butt). It's not that I'm allergic. It's just that I'm fairly sure they're evil. Only Satan could create a food product so perfectly revolting.

But now that I am an adult, (I think), it's time that I came to terms with my egg phobia. Other childhood culinary foes (beets, vegemite, haggis) have already been conquered. Eggs are the last frontier.

Yet, had it not been for Ms. Lauren Myracle, I might never have summoned the courage to take this all-important step. And I certainly would never have gone so far as to taste the dreaded FRIED EGG. Oozing with greasy yellow nastiness, fried eggs have long featured in my worst nightmares. I have never, ever, ever considered putting one in my mouth. I would have rather sucked down a sautéed slug. A caramelized cockroach. Or a broiled dung beetle.

Until today . . . .

SEE PICTURES BELOW (Sorry, camera broke! Had to take them with my blackberry!) I'm wearing sunglasses you you can't see my tears.

The Result of this Cruel Experiment:

You're all lucky that my photographer refused to follow me into the bathroom where I deposited the rest of the egg exactly where it belonged--the toilet! Never again. Trust your fears, people. You have them for a reason!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Have Not Fallen Off the Face of the Earth!

I'm moving this weekend, so it's gotten a little crazy. But I will here tomorrow, sharing my greatest fear with all of you!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've Been Challenged . . .

For years, I've been hiding a secret fear. One so terrifying--so humiliating--that I've kept it from all but a carefully chosen few.

But now, the lovely, talented, and thoroughly evil Lauren Myracle has challenged me to face my fear this Halloween. And she wants proof.

So what IS my deepest, darkest fear? You'll have to wait and see! All will be revealed on October 31st.

For the record, it's not bird-eating spiders, sidewalk stingrays, blood-thirsty sharks, bad home decor, evil dolls, sausage filling, or the undead (whom I generally find quite personable).

Check out Lauren's challenge here. And feel free to share your greatest fears. (I promise I won't use them against you.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Devil Babies

Some people like dolls that are cuddly and sweet. Other people prefer dolls that look as if they might come to life in the middle of the night and feed on the household pets.

For those who fall into the latter category, there are Krypt Kiddies. These cute little creatures come with horns, tattoos, and parasitic twins. A few even glow in the dark. They are by far the creepiest, most disturbing toys I've ever seen.

Check out the galleries on the Krypt Kiddies website. But be sure not to visit right before bedtime.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yes, It's Real

You are looking at a giant spider eating a bird. Proof here.


Friday, October 24, 2008

A Visual Encyclopedia of Street Artists

I just came across this awesome list of "40+ Street Artists You Should Know Besides Banksy." Some, like Blu, have been featured in this blog. And a lot of the work can be found around New York. But many of the artists were new to me, too!

My favorites? JR, (top). This work is only a few blocks from my house, and I have to say it's absolutely beautiful. I also like Thundercut's walk/don't walk signs (middle). And I could never forget Swoon (bottom), one of New York's most amazing street artists.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Parking Lot Cemeteries

In the middle of a movie theater parking lot in New Brunswick, NJ sits the lonely grave of Mary Ellis (shown above).

According to legend, in the late 1700s, Mary's family moved to a lovely piece of property overlooking the Raritan River. While living there, she fell in love with a sea captain who had sailed up the river. When he left, he promised to return and marry her. Every day, she would ride down to the river to look for his ship. She died thirteen years later, still awaiting her fiance's return. (It's romantic, sure. But weren't there any other guys in the neighborhood?)

Mary's family buried her in a wooded grove not far from their farm. Over the years, the land was bought and sold many times. Eventually, her grave was surrounded by mini-malls and shopping centers. Today, it sits on a raised patch of earth in the middle of a parking lot.

Surprisingly, Mary's isn't the only parking lot grave around. has a terrific list of cemeteries overtaken by modern times. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Vampire Rabbit of Newcastle

This sweet little blood-sucking bunny sits above an ornate doorway in the British town of Newcastle Upon Tyne, waiting to spring on unsuspecting pedestrians. I've done a little research, and apparently no one knows who put it there--or why.

Any thoughts?

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Cutest Plant Stand on the Planet

What is this rather unusual plant stand, you ask? And why has it found it's way onto Ananka's Diary?

What you see above is no ordinary household accessory. It is, in fact, a robot. Wherever the sunlight moves throughout the day, the Plantbot follows it. Believe it or not, it's actually really cute.

See it in action here.

I'm Back, and So Is the Creepy Gnome!

Remember the evil South American gnome? (If not, you really should check it out.) He's back!!!

A new video has emerged which shows a small, gnome-like creature side-stepping across a road outside the Argentinian town of Clodomira. According to one eyewitness, "This tiny thing started running down Avenue San Martin at us. It had a pointy head and dark clothes. It was a person of incredibly low stature. We filmed it then got scared and ran off. This little thing was barking like a dog - but running sideways on two legs."

Check out the unbelievably bizarre footage here.

(One question: What are all those guys doing dancing around in the street together? Is that what passes for fun in Clodomira?)

PS: I'll think about posting some contest finalists. The judges didn't really give me a final list.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time for a Little Break

Wow! I don't know about you, but that contest was stressful. So I'm taking the weekend off for a little R&R. But I'll be back on Monday with your daily dose of the bizarre!

(Below: Latest Kiki Strike artwork by the fabulous Lolita Strawberry. Visit her blog here.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .

(Above: My best attempt at an illustration.)

The winning entry was part of a complete spy-purse kit, which included an impressive array of brilliant products, such as "Corrosive Lip Gloss" and "Tear-Inducing Mascara."

However, our judges were blown away by the sheer simplicity and usefulness of one disgusting little concept: Fake Blood Chewing Gum. It doesn't make use of the latest advances in technology, it doesn't come with a lot of bells and whistles, and you might even be able to make it yourself. But we believe Fake Blood Chewing Gum is destined to be a classic.

(And unlike a tube of fake Halloween blood, it could easily go undetected inside a purse or handbag.)

Congratulations, Hania! You're the winner of the Perfect Gadget Contest!

Here's the entry . . .

Fake Blood Chewing Gum

Need to gain access to a private property? Well, ask for their bathroom of course! Obviously, if you’re a stranger, they will immediately refuse your call to the powder room. But once they see a young, innocent girl in need of the bathroom for a severe oral injury, they’ll be none too hesitant to refuse (unless they actually like blood on their doorstep)

The Gadget/Item:

This special gum is bigger than your average piece of bubble gum. (Note: Not a gum stick but an actual gum piece.) It is approximately 2cm x 2cm in size. 85% of the gum is filled with a gooey centre, and when chewed, this gooey centre will release a blood coloured and textured liquid. The other 15% of the gum is an actual gum, but it’s quite an easy layer to break into for the blood-like substance to show

(Note: this also means you will have to store the pack of gum in a place where it will not be so easily squashed, or else you’ll end up with a mess in your bag/pocket/purse).

Just remember, an over the top injury may result in an ambulance being called. Then you should run for it!

A Few Things Before We Announce the Winner of the PERFECT GADGET Contest

I personally think this was our best contest yet. We received well over seventy entries. Some came with stunning blueprints. Others were beautifully written. However, unlike our last two contests, the winner was not chosen based on his/her writing or drawing skills. The judges were looking only for a creative idea.

And there were many to choose from. Once we narrowed the field down to ten finalists, it was painfully difficult to choose a winner. There were high-tech fingerprinting kits, Swiss Army-style compacts, lipstick microphones, and phones with James Bond-style features. I particularly appreciated the two entries that made use of feminine hygiene products. (No handbag-searcher would ever look twice at those!) And I have to give a special mention to the inventor of the "Brick Purse." If we had been judging based on hilarious illustrations, you would have been the winner, hands down.

Before we move on, let's recap the criteria on which the "gadgets" were judged:

It must be completely original.
It must be useful.
It must blend in with the contents of an average purse/backpack.
It must be something a girl could use without attracting any suspicion.

Thank you all for entering. We are proud to be surrounded by such genius!

Due to the Overwhelming Number of Entries . . .

The winner will not be announced until noon today. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Window of Doom

I would love to make a "movie" like this for one of my windows this Halloween.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Entries Due By Wednesday at Midnight! (EST)

That is all.

History Made Interesting

Why don't more people enjoy learning about history? Here's my theory: Because the people who write history books focus on the most boring parts. As a result, many of us leave school thinking history is just a list of kings, battles, and treaties. But if taught correctly, history is a fascinating soap opera--filled with villains, madmen, and femme fatales.

I just read about a wonderful organization that shares my views on this subject. The Clampers are a group devoted to introducing people to the "real" history of America. Over the years, they've traveled the countryside dressed in matching red shirts, erecting over 1,000 historical plaques. Their motto? “Credo Quia Absurdum,” which roughly translates as “believe because it is absurd.”

Unlike those put up by state authorities, the Clampers' historical plaques don't focus on "rich old men's history." Instead, they commemorate saber tooth tigers, upside-down houses, escaped convicts, and Moose Milk (don't ask).

I love this idea. Every city and town has a secret, fascinating history that few people know about. Unfortunately, the Clampers don't accept women in their organization. (Can you believe!) So I call upon those of us who are of the female persuasion to start our own secret society!

Read more about the Clampers--and explore an awesome interactive map--here.

(Marking the grave of an unknown gold prospector. Photo by Jim Wilson for the New York Times.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Big Thanks to New City Library!

I want to thank the lovely librarians at the New City Library for inviting me to talk about books, Bigfoot, and butt-kicking. It was the best Monday I've had in years! (And the brownies were FANTASTIC.)

Above: Awesome book "carving" by Su Blackwell.

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Gloom of Night nor PUZZLES

While Harriet Russell was a student at the Glasgow School of Art, she decided to put the local post office to the test. She sent herself a series of letters. On each envelope, she hid the address inside a puzzle or cipher.

It was only a game. She didn't expect the letters to ever arrive. But out of the 130 she sent, only 10 failed to reach her. The Glasgow postal employees, as it turns out, were happy to play along. Even as the puzzles grew more and more complex, the letters kept arriving.

(In an odd turn of events, Russell later discovered that her own great-great grandfather had engaged in a similar battle of wits with the postmen of his day. A private secretary to Queen Victoria, he regularly sent letters to his children with their addresses hidden inside elaborate illustrations.)

Russell's puzzles can now be found in a book entitled, Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail. Read more (and see more illustrations) here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reminder! Gadget Contest Entries Due!

Just a friendly reminder that Wednesday, October 15, will be the last day to enter the Gadget contest!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Very Special Pet Store (and Charcoal Grill)

Four days ago, a new store opened in downtown Manhattan. Passersby quickly noticed that there was something . . . well . . . unusual about the shop. The window displays include a sleeping leopard, a bunny wearing makeup, and chicken mcnuggets eating BBQ sauce.

Inside, it only gets weirder. There are animatronic pet sausages in glass cages and fish stix swimming in bowls.

It took people a few days to figure out that the person behind the strangest store in New York is . . . BANKSY!

I can't wait to take a look! The store/art exhibit (located on 7th Avenue between 4th St. and Bleeker) is open from 10AM to Midnight until October, 31.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Uplifting Robot Story of the Month

As I've said many, many times before, I love Japan! Not only do the Japanese have monkey waiters and sumo wrestlers, they're now making robot suits available to the masses!

HAL (short for Hybrid Assistive Limb) is a 22-pound set of computerized leg braces designed to help people whose age or injuries prevent them from walking. HAL's computer system simply reads the wearer's brain signals and sends commands directly to the robotic legs. A promotional video shows a paralyzed person standing up and walking with HAL's assistance.

Now that's amazing! Read more here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Monkey Waiters!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Squirt Gun Assassins

I already know what I'm doing next September. That's when New York's next big Street Wars tournament starts. On day one of the tournament, contestants are led to a secret Chinatown location where every participant is given a file containing a picture and some key information about another New Yorker. The mission: Dispose of that person as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your only weapons: Squirt guns and water balloons. The reward: $500 and everlasting glory.

It sounds awesome. I love the idea of stalking teenagers and little old ladies, patiently waiting for them to emerge from the safety of their apartments. Then I would leap into action, drenching them with refreshing New York City tap water. What could be better?

Read about this year's competition here!

(Below: One of this year's assassins. Photo by David Goldman for the New York Times.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Halloween: Not Just for Humans Anymore

I wish I had a dog. Not for the everyday cuteness or companionship. No, I want a dog so I can dress her up for Halloween. Just yesterday, I was checking out the links on Web Zen when I came across two remarkable dog costume options.

First there's the fabulous Dog to Unicorn Transformation Kit, which promises to turn even the ugliest mutt into a glittering fairytale creature. (Transformation shown above. PS: I think it's a joke.)

Then there's the Wiggles dog wig store, where you can purchase the perfect hairpiece for any canine. (Despite the expressions on some of the Wiggles models' faces, I'm sure they all secretly love looking ridiculous for our entertainment.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Unbelievable Power of Skunk

(Above: Don't mess with this kid.)

The Israeli army has developed a new weapon that's got people talking . . . and gagging and groaning. It's called Skunk.

Skunk is a harmless substance that can be sprayed from a water cannon. According to the Israelis, its secret ingredients are completely organic and include no banned chemicals. It's even safe enough to drink. Yet even a small amount of Skunk can bring a target to his knees.

How is this possible? Those in the know say that Skunk may be the worst-smelling substance on earth. It's been described as, "an overpowering mix of rotting meat, old socks that haven't been washed for weeks--topped off with the pungent waft of an open sewer." And if you're unlucky enough to be given a spritz, you'll find that Skunk won't wash off for up to three days.

Not everyone is a big fan of Skunk, and many experts insist that more tests need to be done. But it seems like it may end up being a pretty good alternative to bullets and bombs.

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gadget Contest: The FABULOUS Prizes!

On Wednesday, October 15th, a secret panel will convene to judge the latest contest on the Ananka's Diary blog. The winner will be announced at 9AM EST on Thursday, October 16th.

The winner of this contest will receive a special spy kit, which will include . . . drum roll, please . . .

Edible Spy Paper (perfect for writing notes in class)

A High-Tech Personal Security System (featuring lazer tripwires!)

A Handbook of Practical Spying (to teach you all the things that Kiki Strike didn't)

Your Choice of Kiki Strike Apparel

A Surprise

We look forward to reading and judging your entries! The ones we've received so far have been AMAZING!