Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Escabana Michigan - W.L. Yoyo Designers

Class tries to break record - CAD students attempt world's largest yo-yo

By Ashley Hoholik, POSTED: June 30, 2010, Daily Press

ESCANABA - Popularized in the 1930s, the yo-yo is making a comeback - but not as the familiar child's toy. A 1,625 pound version of the simple, amusing toy will debut in July, courtesy of the Bay College Computer Aided Design (CAD) class.

The 11 foot, six-inch diameter yo-yo is part of the class' latest run to commandeer yet another world record title. Previous CAD class world record attempts include the world's largest golf tee and the world's largest skateboard.

The official drop will occur at 7 p.m., July 6 in the Bay College parking lot off of Danforth Road. Judges for the drop include: Bay College President Laura Coleman, State Representative Judy Nerat and Vice President of Delta Manufacturing Jean Ross - among others.

The current record for the world's largest functioning yo-yo was set by a group of college students from Manchester, England. It was 10 feet tall, five inches in diameter, weighed 896 pounds, and was dropped from a height of 189 feet.

Looking to defeat this record is the seven member Bay CAD team, which includes: Ryan Fairbanks (team leader), Jacob Nietling, Mark Cocco, Matt Yadro, Jessica Potvin, Viki Branstrom and Adam Hoffman. Though the team has already constructed a larger yo-yo, they must now ensure its functionality - dropping it from a crane and propelling the device back up at least once, with witnesses present. Usage of the crane has been donated by Ness Contracting, so now all the students have to anticipate is whether the structural integrity of the yo-yo can withstand the drop.

"On the test drops, I'm pretty sure it won't break. The test drops are only 20 or 30 feet, so its not able to generate that much force, because at those heights it is only around 7,000 pounds of force," explained Fairbanks. "The 90-foot drop is around 18,000 pounds of force, though, so it is quite a bit of difference."

While Fairbanks expresses confidence in the metal components, axle of the yo-yo, and rope, which is rated at 81,000 pounds, he and the group have some apprehension about whether the wood will make it through the process. For this reason, CAD Instructor Jerry Havill has worked with the class and college to outline possible risks and how to prevent them.

"The higher we go, the more danger there is, and if it breaks, then we have to consider people, property and everything else - at 90 feet the risk is higher," said Havill. "The process itself has been thoroughly presented to the college itself, as well as the risk manager for the college system, and so we've looked at things very carefully...we've taken all the steps, but when you drop it, you can't guarantee that it won't break."

Other considerations that have been made are wind and crane movement - both of which will be monitored by the crane operator. If conditions prove too unfavorable, the drop will be called off. A perimeter will be set up around the drop site to ensure the safety of audience members.

Over the past several months, the CAD class has used manpower, welding and glue to construct the steel and wood yo-yo. The current version of the yo-yo was adapted from a smaller yo-yo designed by the class. The larger yo-yo is an replica of the smaller version and exactly 40 times larger. The total cost for the construction of the yo-yo has been just over $12,000, which has been primarily raised by the CAD students through various fundraisers and work.

"We received a $5,000 sponsorship and 300 yo-yos to sell from Yo-Yo - they will actually be coming up for the drop," said Fairbanks. "We've been working on it for the past four or five months, probably a minimum of four hours a day, so it's quite a bit of time we've put into it."

The requirements put forth by the Guinness World Record officials include creating: a yo-yo that consists of two equally sized, but not especially equally weighted pieces of plastic, wood or metal; a yo-yo that is demonstrated to work in front of judges; and published specifications of the yo-yo, including the weight, the length of the rope, and the diameter.

According to Havill, the entire project has been a valuable experience for the students, who have had unprecedented local support.

"This project has had more local companies involved than any of the other projects," he explained. "We've had three companies with major involvement, and then a lot of other companies that have been involved and helping by either just charging us cost or volunteering their time or equipment."

The most important aspect of the yo-yo construction process, notes Havill, was the student dedication.


2010 Allen and Ginter Box Busters - an inside look at sports card collectors...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Big News from World's Largest Things, Lucas Kansas

BIG NEWS from Word's Largest Things, Inc., in Lucas Kansas - we have a collector card in the new Topps Allen and Ginter set, due to be released June 30, 2010!  While we haven't seen our own card yet, it will be exciting to hear of collectors finding them 'in the wild' in the coming weeks...
Thank you for your attention!
-Erika Nelson, World's Largest Things Inc., home of the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things

CONTACT: Erika Nelson, World's Largest Things Inc.,


Queen of Kansas Quirky gets own Topps Collector Card

Lucas artist Erika Nelson's "World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things" featured in the Topps 2010 Allen and Ginter Collector Card set, due to be released June 30, 2010.

Due to be released on June 30, and in card stores Thursday July 1st, the new 2010 Allen and Ginter set of retro-themed baseball cards will include a regional favorite - the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things. Lucas KS based artist Erika Nelson was contacted in February by the head of image licensing about including the WLCoWSVoWLT in the 2010 series after the head of marketing found the World's Largest Things website. The initial call came as the Topps executives were still chuckling over the theme song, and a deal was swiftly struck, pairing Kansas' supurlative-sporting attraction and an industry leader in sports trading cards.

Allen and Ginter, a Richmond, Virginia, tobacco manufacturing firm, created the first cigarette cards for collecting and trading in 1875. In 2006, Topps resurrected the name, producing a specialty line of cards in a vintage style. In addition to modern and historical baseball figures, the sets included special quirky insert subjects - relic cards with real objects from famous people (a piece of JFK's sweater), or a special Sailors of the Seven Seas series. A set of signature cards encourage folks to collect autographs from a wide range of people including Erika and her collection, illusionist David Blaine, skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, and fire eater Hubertus Wawra.

Allen and Ginter sets also include special wooden or silk cards in some of their packages, cards that fold out like books, and special 'rip' cards that hide a small card inside a larger card, only revealed if you physically rip open the larger card. Since it is one of the specialty collector sets, you'll have to seek out a hobby shop that still deals in sports cards. There are only a half-dozen official Topps retailers in Kansas, and the owner of The Arena in Salina feels that this years A&G set will sell out quickly, due to a last-minute inclusion of Stephen Strasburg in all Topps releases, starting with the Allen & Ginter series.

Kansas "Topps of the Class" stores include: The Sports Dome, 1000 Massachusettes, Lawrence; Lobos Sports Cards, 1016 S Oliver, Wichita; Rock's Dugout, 3232 N. Rock Rd., Wichita; The Arena, 127 N. Santa Fe, Salina; Star Sportscards, 806 A East 4TH, Hutchinson; and Baseball Card Shop, 2332 Main, Great Bend.

Since the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things is one of the autograph cards, when you send one in to the World's Largest Things Home Base (PO Box 101, Lucas KS, 67648) for a signature, you'll receive an additional postcard of the New Sideshow Extravaganza banner featuring the collection. It's a meta-collectors dream, and a great honor for one of Kansas' Quirkiest to be a part of this historic set.


Media Contact:

Erika Nelson, World's Largest Things, Inc.

PO Box 101, Lucas KS


Friday, June 25, 2010

Hyundai builds World's Largest Vuvuzela

From the Autoevolution blog:
Oh, no, they really had to do this... After our ears got trashed by the now two-week long, relentless Vuvuzela sound, after our brains have become a gelatinous paste as a result of the billions of bees invading our homes from the screens every day, three times a day, after all of that, Hyundai had to come up with this...

Meet the world's largest, biggest, longest, loudest Vuvuzela. Created by the South Korean manufacturer, who, by the way, is the official car supplier of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the 114-foot-long... tube sits on top of an unfinished bridge in Cape Town.

From there, as a game, any game, is about to start, the Vuvuzela releases its millions of bees on the poor Cape Town residents' heads. Yes, you read it right, the damn thing works. You can find the proof in the video below.

The Vuvuzela has been placed there by Hyundai's advertising agency The Jupiter Drawing Room, to be the epitome of Hyundai's "Bring the Gees" campaign.

If, by accident, you have been living in a secluded cave somewhere on the Moon, the chances are you don't know what a Vuvuzela is. Described by South Africans as football's beautiful noise, the Vuvuzela is a brightly colored, meter long trumpet. A trumpet which, South African says, sounds like an elephant.


Listen to the one below (which, by the way, sounds more like a ship coming into port). Does it sound like an elephant? Open your TV and listen to tens of thousands of Vuvuzela being constantly blown throughout any given game. Do they sound like elephants?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another roadside attraction smote (smited? smitten?) by God.

6-story Jesus statue in Ohio struck by lightning Monday, June 14, 2010
Sculpture nicknamed 'Touchdown Jesus' because of way arms were raised
All that remains of the six-story-tall "King of King's" statue of Jesus Christ on Tuesday, outside the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, after it was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm Monday night and burned to the ground.
MONROE, Ohio - A six-story statue of Jesus Christ was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, leaving only a blackened steel skeleton and pieces of foam that were scooped up by curious onlookers Tuesday.
The "King of Kings" statue, one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along the Interstate 75 freeway in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.
The lightning strike set the statue ablaze around 11:15 p.m. Monday, Monroe police dispatchers said.

This has also let to a Religious Icon Deathpool (by lightning) - nominations for said pool are the Groom, Effingham, and Ohio giant crosses, and the Praying Hands in Tulsa OK.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Front page, today's Salina Journal - the new Smoky Hill River Festival collaboration

Bill Godfrey assembles his fabric panels on the Fourth Street bridge on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 in Oakdale Park in preparation for the Smoky Hill River Festival. (photo by Jeff Cooper/Salina Journal)

Joe Clark (left) and Erika Nelson work on an art installation at the tennis courts in Oakdale Park on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 in preparation for the Smoky Hill River Festival. (photo by Jeff Cooper/ Salina Journal)

Artist Blind Date - original story

When two people are set up by a mutual acquaintance for a blind date, the results are difficult to predict, but at this year's Smoky Hill River Festival it will be hard to miss the bright results at the Oakdale Park tennis courts.

"I See You, You See Me," a mural of Put-in-Cups and cloth, shows the results of the artist blind date of Erika Nelson, of Lucas, and Bill Godfrey, from near Pittsburgh, Pa.

The two found themselves paired together to design a mural ahead of the four-day Smoky Hill River Festival, set to kick off tonight with the Festival Jam in Oakdale Park.

"We connected well," Godfrey said. "Our works meshed together really well."

Godfrey and Nelson met for the first time Tuesday to start their project after being "set up" by Karla Prickett, a festival organizer, and talking online about the project for two months.

"It was like creating an Internet relationship with someone you don't know," Godfrey said. "You find out a lot about the person, but you never physically meet them until the end. You don't know if you are going to be able to work together or not."

Inspired by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the artists set out to design a project meshing two very different art materials.


"She (Erika) wanted to base our piece on his (Hundertwasser's) work," Godfrey said. "I went on the Internet and researched this artist's work and found he was one of the most important artists in Germany in the 20th century."

Nelson said Hundertwasser's designs are childlike and have many curves, something she felt would be a hit at the festival.

"We are focusing on the eyes and bright colors of his designs," Nelson said. "The top tier will be major vignettes tied together with little designs."

Godfrey said his part of the project was finished ahead of time, but Nelson started putting the Put-in-Cups into the fence Tuesday. The project is expected to be finished today. Nelson said she planned only a portion of her project in advance.

It really blends well

"I'm responding to Bill's pieces and going little by little until it feels right," Nelson said.

With the banners made of cloth and the Put-in-Cups, Godfrey said he was surprised how well the materials blended together.

"If you put the fabric and the plastic on the chain-link fence and step back, you can't tell where one ends and the other begins," Godfrey said. "By accident, the cups and cloth are the same color sources."

Nelson said the mural almost looks as if it were designed by one artist instead of two.

Godfrey has been helping Nelson put the cups into the fence following her designs.

"It is like a creative arena," Godfrey said. "You bring a lot of things and media together, and it happens."

Nelson said the mural will be taken down Sunday.

"She envisioned us working together in a nice fashion, and we have," Godfrey said. "This art blind date has worked."

Reporter Chris Hunter can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

River Festival starts Thursday in Salina Kansas

Which means I'll be standing on a laddar, inserting PICs into the upper teir of the tennis court fence again at Oakdale Park in Salina. 
The Salina Journal just came out with their Festival Guide, with a little blurb on the collaborative project this year with Bill Godfrey:
And, here's the whole River Festival site - great list of performers again this year, and lots of amazing art... Ya' gotta come!

Potential World's Largest Pool Table, Fredericktown MO

How awesome is this?!?  Play-able, although in a slightly altered delivery system for the bowling-turn-pool balls...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mountainfilm Program - see me 'n' Scout on pps. 36 & 37

Telluride Tidbit: Sideshow Extravaganza during Gallery Walk

Here's the Sideshow, set up on the main street of Telluride for the Gallery Walk.  Description from the program:
the Gallery Walk following our Symposium affords a chance to meet and greet while strolling from one Telluride art gallery to the next to view original paintings, sculpture, photography and multi-media works of wonder.
Erika Nelson's license plate says "Art Car," which describes this four-wheeled commentary on fossil fuel dependency and which is also carrying her curated museum exhibit: "The World's Largest Collection of the Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things."
Since my part was over on the first day, I got to explore and be inspired by the rest of the festival.  Handed out a lot of postcards, too, while tootling around town in the Art Car on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, which evidently is an odd sight in Colorado.

Telluride Tidbit: Public Transportation

(image blatantly stolen from the Mountainfilm blog)
Part of getting around the mountain can include biking, hiking, skiing, and the like. OR, you can take the FIRST and ONLY Public Transportation Gondola from Telluride (8750') up to the peak (10535'), then on to Mountain Village (9540'). Free to ride, so you can spend many an hour floating above the aspens spotting Marmots.

Telluride Tidbits: Filmmakers Dinner

Got there last Thursday, in time for the filmmakers dinner. It was even further up the mountain, on a private ranch, overlooking the ranges. A nice evening enjoying a bluegrass band, free flowing wine and beer and mojitos, contemplating the aspens. Sat for a bit for a portrait, by one of the other invited artists, Jeff Zenick.
Here's a bit about Jeff from the NYT:

NEW Sideshow Extravaganza premeired at Telluride this past weekend

All went well, and the new traveling iteration of the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things was well received by the Telluride Mountainfilm folks...
I'll post more Telluride Tidbits from the whole event - or, you can read them as they occur to me on FaceBook - just search for Erika Nelson and friend me!
Also, there's a tiny little Flickr set of the setup on the Telluride main street - sorry there aren't more pics, but I was working... Tellin' all about World's Largest.