Sunday, February 26, 2017

Protect Transgender Students' Rights Rally at the Florida Capital

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Yesterday, Blaze and I attended a rally on the steps of the Florida Capital, the purpose of which was to express our support for the rights of transgender students.

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Leon County schools are actually doing a good job of passing policies that reflect a desire to keep all students safe, but on a national level, the government is taking away transgender student rights that were granted under the Obama administration. This will make these children much less safe.

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There were many speakers who had emotional stories to share about their experiences with or as part of the trans community.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Teapot Tuesday, Featured Teapot Racer: Sir-Brakes-A-Lot

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This week's featured teapot racer is Sir-Brakes-A-Lot, which was driven by MaiLee Addison on January 28, 2017 at the Royal Renninger Races (Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show, Mount Dora, Florida).

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A pre-race practice run:

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Even practicing for the race attracted an audience.

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Since Sir-Brakes-A-Lot was built out of a metal tea kettle, dry ice could be added, so that steam poured out of the spout as the racer made its way around the course. It really is a fun effect!

Lay your head down to the right in front of your computer, relax, and enjoy this sideways video.

If you prefer your videos upright, Carrie Stocks took an excellent one and posted it to Splendid Teapot Racing Florida's Facebook page:

Sir-Brakes-A-Lot made it around the course in 1-minute, 30-seconds and received extra points
for the quality of the bribe, as well as showmanship.

Our set-up at Renninger's did not lend itself well to drag racing, so we tried something new this time, an alligator round-up.

To keep the audience entertained while the judges were busy calculating score sheets, I invited the racers to use their vehicles to move small stuffed alligators to the "open water" end of my son's old play mat.  Really, what could be more Floridian than relocating alligators?!

The first racer to move two alligators to the water would win.

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It didn't look like it was going to be much of a contest at first. MaiLee was the only one brave enough to try. But, once the other racers saw how much fun she was having, one by one they all joined. Then chaos ensued!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blaze's New Nightstand

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I purchased an old school desk for $5 and Blaze cleaned it up.

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There were some white paint stains on the legs and inside the desk, but that was easily covered up with a coat of brown spray paint. I, also, painted the legs brass to match the trim on Blaze's bed and put antique gold Rub 'N Buff around the wooden edge of the desk.

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The wood color did not match the rest of the wood in Blaze's room, so I covered the desk top with a laminated, vintage-look World map.

We seem to have recently acquired an outdoor cat, who finds it necessary to check out everything I do outside and pass judgement on it. She approved.

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The desk is now Blaze's nightstand.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teapot Tuesday, Featured Teapot Racer: Mad Hatter's Tea Party

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This is Lori Knott's latest teapot racer, Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It came with a support crew, made up of representatives from her two previous teapot racers.

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I was excited to see Mad Hatter's Tea Party! Along with being adorable, it went perfectly with the teapot racing obstacles that I borrowed from Rocky Sawyer, which have an Alice in Wonderland theme.

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A practice run before the main event:

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The Mad Hatter wasn't being completely cooperative and required quite a bit of manual assistance, but Lori managed to complete the race in a respectable 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party received full points for the overall look of the vehicle and the quality of the judges' bribes.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show, Jan. 28-29, 2017

Last weekend was Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show and the fourth running of the Royal Renninger Races (Splendid Teapot Races).

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As always, there were lots of vendors and many creatively costumed guests, but there was also evening entertainment after all the shops were closed on Saturday night.

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Vendors sold everything from furniture to fabulous food.

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Saturday night:

Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show is free, except for the evening entertainment, which they were calling the "Steampunk Stomp". It was $10 a ticket, but that included an entree from Cricketers Pub food truck. I had the Guinness stew and Blaze had the chicken curry. It was freshly made and delicious!

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Sunday afternoon:

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Teapot Tuesday Featured Teapot Racer: Tongue Burner (and a tribute to the driver)

This was the first running of Aidan Harwood's new teapot racer. As a matter of fact, he and his mother only finished building it two days before the races at Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show in Mount Dora, Florida on January 28th.

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Aidan has been studying Vikings this year and did a presentation about them for a homeschool social studies fair back in November, which is when he started talking about wanting a teapot racer with a Viking theme.

One thing that Aidan learned about Vikings, is that they often gave their ships intimidating names, so his mother asked for suggestions for intimidating tea related names from her friends on Facebook and received many great ideas. The name "Tongue Burner" is a shortened version of a name suggested by Jimmy Cantrell.

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Tea Leaf Erikson and his tea party raiding raiding party cross the finish line during a practice run before the race.
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For those of you who are not familiar with Aidan, he is the reason we have teapot racing in Florida.
After seeing YouTube videos of Splendid Teapot Races in New Zealand, Aidan announced to his mother that he wanted a teapot racer, too. Together, they built a pirate themed racer out of a Rock Crawler RC truck and a child's tin tea set. Then Aidan wanted someone to race against, so his mother started the Facebook group, Splendid Teapot Racing Florida and asked Renninger's Antique Center in Mount Dora, Florida to host their first race as part of their biannual Steampunk Industrial Show.

Aidan has mild cerebral palsy that affects the right side of his body, as well as epilepsy, a blind spot in one eye, and developmental delays. There are not many competitive sports that he would be comfortable playing, but teapot racing has given him a way to compete with people of all ages and all abilities on a level playing field. He has excelled. This has done amazing things for his self confidence!

Aidan has now raced in Florida, New Jersey, and Missouri. As of Jan. 28, he has won Grand Champion at 3 of the 7 races he has competed in and has enjoyed every one of those races.  Teapot racing is aways a good time, even if one is not a winner!

This time, though, he did very well with his new racer (the first RC tank he has ever owned). He took home medals for "Most Splendid Design", "Most Splendid Speed", and Grand Champion", as well as the trophy, donated by Renninger's, for the Grand Champion.

Teapot Racing may be the only sport that encourages the bribing of the judges. I think that has greatly helped Aidan's over-all scores, as well. This time he presented the judges with chocolate frosted, chocolate cupcakes with gear-shaped sprinkles.
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Our Judges for this race: John Sprocket and Renate Goodwin from the band The Cog is Dead and a bonus puppy judge.

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Aidan is already looking forward to his next race, which will be at the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri over Labor Day Weekend. The vehicle he took to Big River last year was not behaving well (it might have had something to do with the jumps on the dirt RC track he had tried it on back home). He hopes that "Tongue Burner" is just what he needs to compete with the many creative entries in Missouri.

Crafty Crow