Archive for August, 2011

Stormproof Matches: burn, baby, burn

August 27, 2011

Stormproof Matches lit easily in the wind during our test

I’ve had Industrial Revolution brand Stormproof Matches to test for quite a while and, well, what better time to do it than during a hurricane — i.e. today, when Irene visited us here in North Carolina. I was sent the paper-container version pictured here, not this fancy kit that you can buy for $6 and which I recommend if you’re a big outdoorsperson.

As promised, they were very easy to light — even when the matches and striker were wet. I lit several during wind gusts of maybe 30 mph. But here’s the thing — when it’s really windy, the regular 15-second burn time goes much quicker. So you have to act fast. But still, they lit, unlike traditional matches, and they stayed lit once they got going.

A fancier carrying case is optional

The marketing information claimed the matches “are so water resistant they even remain lit after being submerged in water.” I was most excited to see this, but it didn’t work for me. Three times I dropped blazing matches into a bowl of water and the flame died immediately. So that claim went up in smoke, at least for this tester. OK, UPDATE: Got this from PR person after posting. “If you still have matches left, dunk them in water, take them back out and they should relight! It’s quite fun!” Unfortunately I’m now far from the matches for two weeks, so will try that when home. That makes more sense, I have to say! OK, NEW UPDATE: After submerging in water, the match did re-light, but it wasn’t a steady or smooth flame. Still, cool!

Industrial Revolution isn’t the only brand on these heavy-duty matches on the market, and I don’t know how they compare to others. I will say this — I will always have these kinds of matches with my camping gear from now on. I just hope I don’t ever need a submerged flame. Then again, who would?

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Paperhand Puppet wows again

August 14, 2011

The Sun Goddess is one of our favorites.

Last night’s showing of “The Serpent’s Egg” was our seventh time seeing Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and it was my favorite show since our first, in 2006. (So sad that we lived here in Durham, NC, for two years before we discovered one of the country’s most amazing big-puppet performances!). Paperhand is a summer highlight, and we love the stage at Forest Theatre on the UNC campus. This year the visuals (more photos below!) were mind-blowingly stupendous in every act, and I appreciated that the “teaching and preaching” — all good stuff — came at the end instead of throughout. The music was particular stellar this year, as was the female vocalist, Claudia Lopez. Here are a few scenes:

Poignant and hilarious was "We Are All Just Babies," no matter our age.

Paperhand always turns a little dark, as in this macabre death dance.

These creatures are athletic and technically challenging. The "riders" are on stilts and their horses/birds (?) buck and stomp. Amazing.

Eleven puppeteers operated the serpent, which has a ferocious roar.

Paperhand cofounder Donovan Zimmerman steers the serpent toward the outreached hands of mesmerized children. Magical and moving.

Does every drop really count in Boone?

August 9, 2011

I sent this to the mayor of Boone, NC, today, a lovely town and home to Appalachian State University.

Dear Ms. Clawson,

This is relatively small potatoes, but as a journalist who writes about travel quite a bit, these things jump out at me. I appreciate the letter I found written by you in the guest book at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza  in Boone about Boone’s water conservation efforts, aka the “Every Drop Counts” campaign.

The hotel was wonderful and the staff was great. But I have to say that your letter about water conservation didn’t match the hotel operations. For one, there was NO option/signage in the hotel room about not having sheets and towels laundered. Also, the shower there had to have the most water pressure of any shower I’ve used in years. Let’s just say it was the opposite of low-flow.

Also, I’ll add that at dinner the one night I was there, at Hob Nob Farm Cafe, my partner and I were given two large glasses of ice water without being asked. Not the worst thing in the world, but if water conservation is a goal in Boone, not the best either.

So, I figured you’d appreciate this feedback, which I added to my blog, at www.placeswegopeoplewesee.com. I’ll be sure to post your reply there as well, and thanks for all you do in Boone. It’s a GREAT city. I was visiting from Durham to do a book signing for www.farmfreshnorthcarolina.com, at the wonderful Watauga County Farmers’ Market, one of the best in the state, in my opinion!

Sincerely,

Diane Daniel