The Wonderfully Weird + Whimsical Digest No. 1

March 10, 2015

A line of penguins wearing sweaters knit by Alfie Date. Photo from Business 2 Community.

I know that I don’t have to sing the almighty Internet’s praises. But a confession: I’m actually old enough to remember a time before Googling the answer to a very important question — like “who is Speedy West” — was ubiquitous. Most of my college research papers, for example, were pulled together through a string of details and anecdotes I found in library books and, yes, even microfilm.

I really love books. But I don’t miss those days.

Up until a few short weeks ago — when I officially became a Pony in the Fast Horse stable – I was always logged into various social media platforms as a brand. Somehow, at the end of the day, I managed to keep my own Facebook page alive and well. But my own Twitter and Instagram efforts suffered. After all, logging in and out of platforms — and remembering passwords — is too much work. Plus, at the end of a day of feverish social media activity on behalf of a brand, I just want to ride my bike. Cook some vegetables. And tumble into bed.

But you guys, Twitter is sublime! I’ve completely forgotten how much information can be discovered every five seconds — and it ranges from the very, very serious, like net neutrality, to the completely absurd, like why hairless dogs are actually kind of pretty.

Hairless dogs will never — and I mean not ever — be pretty. Let’s just settle that once and for all.

Lately, I’ve devoted my (still small from almost three years of neglect) Twitter self to sharing a collection of perfectly strange and amazingly magical stories that I would have never discovered on microfilm. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) I’m a sucker for unexpected headlines, and this one is an absolute gem: “Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Sweaters for Injured Penguins to Save Their Lives.” Yes, you read that right. At the ripe old age of 109, Alfie Date is Australia’s oldest living human – and he spends his spare time, yes, knitting, yes, sweaters for, yes, actual penguins. Actual penguins injured in an oil slick. Apparently, the sweaters help to protect the critters and keep them warm at the same time. I don’t know much about penguins and sweaters — but this story just inspired all the warm fuzzies.


109-year-old Alfie Date picked up knitting 8 years ago. And now he knits sweaters for injured penguins. Photo from Business 2 Community.


2) Australia has all the great stories. In February, two giant marionettes — one a “little” 9-meter girl and the other an 11-meter diver — began wandering the streets of Perth in search of each other. For two whole days — as part of the Perth International Arts Festival — the enormous characters searched for one another, occasionally taking breaks on giant beach chairs. The little girl even got to bundle up in her very own giant yellow rain slicker at one point. I just can’t even imagine anything more strange and more lovely at the same time. Follow the link and watch a little teaser. You won’t be sorry.


The giant marionette girl wanders the streets of Perth, Australia in search of the diver. Photo from Perth Now.


3) I’m completely fascinated by the topic of selfies. We can’t stop taking selfies, and yet we’re a little embarrassed by them. I love a good contradiction. But then I discovered this headline from Wired: “Take Your Selfie Game to the Next Level With a 3-D Printed Statue of Yourself.” That would make you pause, right? Dusseldorf-based company DOOB 3D has assembled all the requisite technology to turn yourself into a four-inch action figure, in all your awesome, weird or humdrum glory. According to Wired, “Making one of these figurines requires a massive pile of hardware and software: 54 DSLRs, 54 lenses, a complex 3-D modeling pipeline, and an $80,000 full-color 3-D printer, not to mention a room-size scanning booth.” And they cost $95. But, you know, a four-inch figurine speaks a thousand words…

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One of the four-inch 3D selfies that DOOB 3D’s giant rendering machine created. Photo by Wired.


And now for the shameless plug. If you’d like to discover more of my discoveries, feel free to follow along with me: @jesswangs. I’m going to keep finding little tidbits at the intersection of odd and sublime. Given the fact that I’ve recently been followed by a professional go-kart racer, USA Palm and something/someone called “You Disappoint Us,” my own following will no doubt start to match my subject. And that’s both weird and wonderful.