Category: hooping

When Kids Attack

The spin jam yesterday was small but by no means uneventful. An old car show and DJ were at the Green, playing 50’s music and even giving me a shout out when they played the song “Hula Hoop”, talking about the hooping going on! Apparently they’ll be there the first Thursday in July and August so come hoop to the oldies with me! ūüėÄ

While waiting for friends to show up, I was attacked by a mob of kids going after my hoops. I was outnumbered and overcome. For a while I frantically tried to make sure that they weren’t wandering toward the road (with hoops), throwing the hoops around, or hitting each other. Eventually I just stopped and laughed at the chaos of it all!!! And took photos on my phone.

Aside from two mothers – one who wants to buy a hoop (I hope she does) and one who approached midway through and asked me if it was ok for them to play – most of the adults with them did not express any interest or care for the safety of their kids, the safety of my hoops (I wasn’t worried, they can take a beating), or whether I minded having them all fight over the hoops. A huge thank you to those two mothers who DID take the time to talk to me and make sure it was ok! (When the first two kids approached me, I did offer the hoops to play with. I just never expected 20 more to show up!)

Eventually the flash mob moved on, and I was left to hoop and spin poi and convince passers by to try it as well… The music was much different than what I usually hoop to, but I knew many of the songs and it was a pleasant time.

And now I need to go buy cheap kiddie hoops so that I can offer it as bait to the invasive species, and make sure the adults can play as well! I mean, we have so much less play time than they do, it’s only fair! ūüėÄ

Spinning in Circles

Through my travels to Burning Man and regional events, I’ve been exposed to a lot of new hobbies.¬† I started with poi – never imagining I would one day set them on fire.

Poi is a form of juggling one might say, that consists of balls or weights or wicks (for fire use) attached to chains or in socks (for practice only).  You spin them around you in various patterns, which all look extremely complex but break down to basic movements that most people can learn.  Some performers will always blow your mind with their creativity and flow!

I also met a lot of hoopers – hula hooping, or more accurately hoop dancing, has come a long way from the Wham-0 days.¬† I started trying to learn that as well, not so much out of a love for it but it was the most fun I had getting tired out (or, that evil word – “exercising”).¬† Until one day, when goofing off to some really amazing music, I started to feel it.¬† The magic within the hoop when it truly becomes a dance and the hoop is your partner.

Since then, I’ve been practicing more and taking a workshop when I can.¬† I am not in it to perform.¬† The exercise isn’t the only reason I pick it up, but it makes me feel better afterward.¬† It’s about having fun, and sometimes just a meditation while spinning, getting lost in the movement and rhythm of the music as the Sufis do.

Recently hooping is less restricted to festivals and burners, and it’s becoming a trend as a fitness regime and hobby.¬† The local community is growing, and while it’s more difficult in less urban areas to gather because we are spread out, hoopers are always looking to gather and spin together.

Morristown is usually central to a lot of people, and I decided to start a public gathering here.¬† It would be open to the public, and all forms of “skill toys” would be welcome – poi, hoop, devil sticks, contact juggling…¬† I figured if I started a regular thing, it would continue on even when I couldn’t attend.

And so Morristown’s first Hoop/Poi Jam was held last night on the Green.¬† The call went out online to hoop communities, New Jersey burners, and emails to friends.¬† I had no idea who would come, whether we would have people interested or annoyed at our presence, or what would happen.

I was thrilled that my friend Danny and his dog Bo would be driving up – his Traveling Piano project brings a great energy to public areas as he creates amazing music, allows anyone to jump on the truck and play, and talks at length with everyone who stops by.¬† It’s not the typical music most hoopers or poi spinners listen to, but it has it’s own beauty and flow that is a unique experience and I know I enjoyed those moments I got lost in it.

Photos by/compliments of Danny Kean:

Danny has been playing so long that he improvises pieces you would swear took ages to compose, but as I overheard him telling others – it’s not about the notes, or if you miss one or hit the wrong one.¬† It’s about the journey and how you get there, and being in the moment.

He’s talking about the musical “flow” – the same flow I felt for the first time in the hoop last summer, the flow that beginners of any skill toy struggle with as they try to learn the basics (or the notes).¬† Learning the basic moves uses a different part of the brain, and it’s necessary.¬† But once those moves start to feel comfortable, your muscles remember them and you don’t have to concentrate as hard.¬† And one day, you start flowing and improvising – when someone asks what/how you did a move, you don’t even remember what move it was, you just remember the feeling of being lost in spinning circles.

In the end, several good friends of mine came, some online friends who I hadn’t met in person yet, and we met some amazing people passing by – many tried either to hoop or the piano or both!¬† The night chill and our empty stomachs drove us to end the night and look forward to future jams, as the weather gets warmer and evenings get longer.


Want to join us?¬† Come by on the First and Third Thursday of each month at the Morristown Green.¬† I don’t get there until 6:30 or so, but everyone is welcome to arrive earlier if they’d like.¬† Next one is May 7 – I may end up adding one between now and then since it’s 3 weeks away.

To know the latest about these spin jams, please sign up on the yahoo group (free to join and we are only using it for group email):

We will usually have extra equipment to share, but please ask before using anything and be sure to leave it with us when you go.

Musicians welcome!¬† Danny can’t always be here, so feel free to come hang out with us if you’d like to play!

Note, we do NOT use fire at these events!  (and do NOT attempt fire performance without being trained by a professional artist, for the safety of yourself and those around you!)

To get started in learning some of these hobbies or find places to buy equipment, here are some good links:

Thursday April 16th

6:30 pm (I will be there around then – feel free to arrive earlier if you wish!)

Morristown Green – a square park in the center of town which has one way traffic around it.

Street parking may be difficult, there is a map showing parking in town here –

We’ll meet at the open brick area near the center of the park, there are benches and such there. (Depending on the wetness of the ground we may stay on the brick if there’s room)

Anyone welcome, regardless of your skill level! Any skill toy welcome, devilsticks, staff, etc.¬† We’ll happily share helpful tips and tricks, but remember this is for all of us to enjoy ourselves and not a free lesson.

If you have extra hoops/poi or whatever, please bring them along if you are willing to share! Keep in mind that this park gets a lot of foot traffic, and we’ll want to keep an eye on extra items and purses to make sure they don’t walk off (accidentally or on purpose) – so keep that in mind as well.
(Please ask before borrowing someone’s equipment – sometimes they are special pieces and it’s not anything personal!)

There will be NO FIRE at these events. Feel free to bring music but if we are asked to turn it down/off we will have to comply.

One thing I need input on — I need a way to communicate with people interested in these gatherings. Currently there are people on, Facebook, and people I only have email addresses for. I’d prefer to use email (possibly via google or yahoo groups) to send out notices – does anyone have a strong preference or dislike for any method of doing this? (I’ll still post to tribe and facebook but more sparingly, with details on how to get on the email list for up to date info.)

I’m still planning on doing this every other week (so the first and third thursday of each calendar month) – we’ll see where it grows from there. In the event of rain/questionable weather, feel free to contact me but chances are if you don’t want to be outside, no one else will either. ūüėõ

Thanks! Holler if you have any questions!

Katie (aka Hunnybear)

Sleepy Thursday

I haven’t posted much lately about much other than schedules and cool stuff I come across… So get ready for stream of consciousness blogging today.
I’m more than a bit sleepy after a grey morning, and a late night hooping and playing rock band.¬† As soon as our friends left, we both bought Spore for the iphone and played it a bit until we relaxed from rocking out enough to crash.¬† (Thanks Elaina!)
Oh yeah.¬† The iphone.¬† I haz one.¬† I thought I knew how cool it was, I’ve texted and looked up websites on my boyfriend’s.¬† I thought I would never leave Verizon.¬† But when I realized it was time for a new phone AND a new ipod, and my contract was up with Verizon, and I got a tax refund, it all fell into place.¬† I’m thrilled to be able to listen to my music collection again.¬† And the phone is not just cool.¬† It’s so. freaking. amazing.¬† I got more apps in one day than my love got in one year.¬† (Highly recommend: the game Sway, and of course Spore – we got the paid version but there’s a lite free version too.¬† We both have played Spore on the computer, and I even had it on my verizon phone, but it was NOTHING like the iphone one.)

It’s also redefining how I use twitter and such – I can now keep up with all the updates I subscribe to rather than only the most recent dozen or so.¬† And it’s easier to tweet myself. I need to learn all these new tweet-isms, like the whole #followfriday and keyword stuff – it’s complicated and not all in one easy place.¬† I just learned what RT is recently.

So what else? Oh yeah – it’s officially spring and I NOW realize I have indoor hooping space.¬† In my laundry room for my complex.¬† That pile of laundry I have?¬† Now looks like hooping time.¬† Of course it’s about to be nice outdoor hooping weather soon, but until then and on rainy days, it’s my rec room.

dryer isolations

dryer isolations

(If anyone wants to come over just holler.¬† There’s a low ceiling so limited over the head stuff, and not as good for poi, but nothing breakable really. easily fits 4 hoopers, possibly 6 if no one else is really doing laundry at the time :P)

What else?

I love my love.¬† (I LOVE sharing every day of my life with him, and having new adventures! We had a great time hiking on Sunday and want to start geocaching.¬† I know that our lives will never get boring! :D)¬† I love our friends.¬† I love rock band and my iphone.¬† I’m tired but really happy today.

Weekend plans – Wine bottling (we took part in a make-your-own-barrel adventure, which we’ve missed every single step of except for this last one!) Friday night.¬† Car shopping in south jersey Saturday.¬† Fire conclave practice in Philly Sunday night.¬† Hanging with friends in between the two.¬† Monday is going to come wayyyyy too soon.¬† Deep breath.

Oh – I blogged about Hollis? She’s back in the states, and showing AMAZING signs of progress. YAY!¬† Check out the news here.

Link of the day РLe Love.  The most recent post is a stray from the usual postings, but still a powerful site.

Have a fabulous day!!!

It started with a simple concept.¬† An indoor renaissance faire in the winter, in NJ.¬† Not a tourist trap for families, but geared to the audience who is counting the days until the spring and the larger faires of summer, and call it Jeff Mach’s Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire.¬† It grew from that into a very diverse event featuring ninjas, pirates, steampunk, almost anything you can think of will fit into this alternate universe.

The official theme for this year’s Wicked Faire event was “The Wicked Chocolate Factory” and added a sweet layer to the event.¬† The faire was held at the Hanover Marriott this past weekend, and I attended Friday night as I enjoy the shopping opportunities and seeing some great costumes.

A mime and a hooper entertaining faire arrivals

Steampunk fashion is growing in popularity and was prevalant this year, with many scheduled events including an amazing fashion show.¬† If you haven’t heard of steampunk, you may recognize it when you see it.¬† Think of it as victorian science fiction – steam powered machinery taken into the future, ala H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

We arrived at the event and started wandering among the vendors Рfamiliar faces and new ones sold leather goods, costuming, jewelry, and more.  By the time we reached the main ballroom, people were gathering for the steampunk fashion show to start, but looking around at the audience was just as much of a show.

This faire was a little more Victorian than Medieval

This faire was a little more Victorian than Medieval! A guest waiting for the fashion show to start

However the fashion show did not disappoint.  Men and women dressed in intricate outfits walked the catwalk (or stage) with grace and professionalism as fans and photographers looked on.  It was worth the longer than usual intermission, understandable when you saw how complicated some of the outfits could be.

One of many fabulous outfits on display

One of many fabulous outfits on display

This Little Red Riding Hood doesnt look like shes scared of any wolves!

This Little Red Riding Hood doesn't look like she's scared of any wolves!

For more amazing photos, check out the Wicked Faire photo pool on Flickr here.¬† (My photos are only partially loaded online, but I’ll be adding all of them to the photo pool this evening.)

Ghostbusters provided security, and enjoyed a little shopping as well.

Ghostbusters provided security, and enjoyed a little shopping as well.

After the show ended, we finished exploring the vendors on the main floor and upper floor conference rooms.¬† Living up to the “Wicked” part of the name, the adult vendor rooms checked ID’s at the door before perusing costuming and accoutrements of a more wicked nature – the only children at this event are grown ones.¬† However, there certainly is a little something for everyone with the variety of interests and hand crafted wares.

Our wallets much lighter, we decided to head home rather than stay for the headlining events – performance by Voltaire, a showing of the movie “Repo: The genetic Opera” with a shadowcast, and many other talented groups.¬† However, we were not to escape without some chocolate.¬† Speaking briefly with some fairegoers at the side door, I was suddenly presented with a Golden Ticket!

Golden Tickets! Photo by Sessa

Golden Tickets! Photo by Sessa

We could not skip this amazing opportunity.  We joined Willy and Veruca in an afterparty where yes, you COULD lick the wallpaper (covered in candy buttons!), cupcakes, and enjoy some homemade mead by Long Island Meadery.  I recommend the root beer mead for something truly different, but every variety we tasted was wonderful!

Willy and Veruca - Behave or he'll take away your golden ticket!

Eventually we tore ourselves away from this chocolate fantasy land and headed home.¬† We had another busy day ahead of us the next day, and you’ll hear about that shortly.

So next February, when the snowy weather is getting you down, make your way to the Wicked Faire for some serious entertainment and sunny spirits!

A short note that says a ton.

If you are anything like me, grab a box of tissues before starting this…

today, she is my hero.¬† get out there and do something you can’t do well, if you enjoy it just do it anyway.

leaving for DC, will report back when I get home.

(Aside – Burning Man tickets go on sale tomorrow Wednesday January 14th!!! Didn’t want that info to get buried.)

You may not have heard about this, but chances are, you will.

I heard something in passing but never paid attention.  Today, I read about a hooper selling her hoops in Oregon who was told she can no longer sell them by shop owners.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (‚ÄúCPSIA‚ÄĚ) came about as a result of the toy recall in 2007 where some items produced in China containing high lead content, unsafe parts, and¬†dangerous¬†chemicals.

But they got a little carried away.   All manufacturers of items for children under 12 are now facing tight restrictions, prohibitively expensive testing fees, and enough legal hoops to close thousands of small businesses.

One poster on the Etsy forums for the CPSIA owns a small¬†bookstore where 2,000 children’s books have been pulled from the shelves and must be destroyed, not even given away for free.¬† Any uncertified items are “contraband” and¬†it will be illegal to sell or give away items to charity¬†– even perfectly functional items must be destroyed or thrown in our landfills.

Thrift stores won’t be able to sell any children’s items.¬† The children’s consignment shop that only came to my town recently may have closed it’s doors already, I don’t know.¬†¬† (ETA: I hear that used clothing is excluded, but new clothing is not… But I have not confirmed this.)

There is speculation over how this will affect taxes for schools (since educational supplies and textbooks are currently¬†included) and even the simple availability of parts to repair a child’s bicycle.¬† This does not only affect the small businesses run out of homes, and parents of children under 12, but really affects us all.¬† The price to test items can run up to $4,000 PER ITEM – which¬†most one-of-a-kind, small production companies or crafters cannot afford.

Even if you are an adult, purchasing something as simple as a hula hoop for yourself, this law can impact you.  As the nation is facing an economic crisis, costs of toys and clothing will increase and selection will decrease.

This really will affect all of us¬†– please take a moment to read up on the act and take action.¬† Here are several resources and recommended ways to voice your opinion!¬† Also please write to your Congress Person and Senator to request changes to save handmade children’s products – a sample letter is here, and you can find your Congress Person and Senator here.

CPSIA Government site РThe act is open for public comment on the latest exemptions to the Act until January 30.  (See PDF file for full information here)

Comments must be received by the Office of the Secretary no later than January 30, 2009.¬† Comments may be filed by email to Comments may also be filed by facsimile to (301) 504-0127 or by mail or delivery to the Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814. Comments should be captioned “Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts.” Interested persons will also have additional opportunities to comment following publication of any notices of rulemaking proceedings in the Federal Register which are commenced under this section.

Buy Handmade blog

Save Handmade!
(Get this tag on the buyhandmade blog!)

A blogging crafter’s personal story about public apathy regarding this act

Handmade Toy Alliancepetition here

National Bankruptcy Day – vote, and this issue may be one of 10 the site brings to a Washington DC seminar

Another petition

Reform CPSIA – information on a class action lawsuit for consumers and businesses

We all want children to be safe and protected from harmful items, but this act is a totally inappropriate reaction to the events in 2007 and innocent people are the victims.  Please speak up and let your voice be heard.  Thank you.

Belated happy new year to all!

I was drunker than I thought, and took longer to recover than expected… but still an awesome time.¬†¬† Burned a dresser, kissed my love at midnight (and everyone else), and then hooped in the new year.

Today I’m all ADD while sitting at¬†my desk at work.¬† Recipe for tofu curry.¬† Reading this awesome blog I found.¬† Planning game nights.¬† Discussing fuzzy/lost memories of NYE.¬† Must get drain-o on way home.¬† When can I get out of work.¬† Discussions of lap dances O.o¬† I just want to go home and play xbox…….¬† and I need to upload photos from NYE too!

ETA: one of my favorite memories is sitting next to my love on NYD, eating black eyed peas (in an amy’s frozen dinner, with hotsauce added – yes my tummy survived that!) looking at him and knowing that we’ll be ringing in every new year together, and being so happy about making our own traditions. ‚̧


Hi hoopers! This took me by surprise this morning – not that I mind, just caught off guard!¬† And the post featured was just one of those late night, not sober, half asleep wanderings that my brain does…¬†¬† Ah well.¬†

Snow last night – beautiful except when you have to clear the car off.¬† I hope to get some indoor hooping going on tomorrow night – hooped more than I expected to at Santacon (where to start, I was surprised at how easily I could hoop in my outfit.¬† And later,¬† in the ferry terminal, I found myself more inebriated than expected and lost that hooping chi…)¬†¬†My body has been sore since Sunday from the playing and trekking and drinking, and stretching it out will feel good.

Reversing Current

Mizz Buttafl’i in her sitting, meditative hooping. Which I am working on, but mine looks much less peaceful than hers does…

Warning: Very stream of consciousness post which meanders.¬† which shouldn’t shock anyone after the last post ;o)

The sun is peaking through the gray skies, just a little bit.¬† On my second mug (i.e., third and fourth cup) of coffee.¬† Either the coffee is getting weaker here¬†or I’m building a resistance again.

Not much different than yesterday, but my mood is definitely brighter.  Mentally adjusting to the changing season, the upcoming solstice.  Pondering once again how summer is a time to share our fire with others, and winter is the time to fuel our own fire and look inwards.

The hoopjams have moved indoors and we are focusing on core work only – hooping on the body, knees to neck.¬† My inclination is to do little of that.¬† After hooping the day before thanksgiving, I was sore from the workout.¬† It’s hard to focus on self, especially in the midst of others.

Today’s post title inspired by the hoopjam, and learning to change currents (directions).¬† The Hoop Path instructors teach that there is no first/second direction, no right/wrong direction, to encourage hooping in both directions.¬† When you are used to only hooping counter-clockwise, and more off the body moves, and spinning while hooping (last two are “cheats” since I find it difficult to waist hoop in one spot without dropping it) — to be inside, core moves only, and then be told to change direction?¬† That’s tricky.¬† But bringing it inside, doing these restrictions, will only make me (and my hooping) stronger.

And I think that’s why I’m feeling the struggle to change direction.¬† I need to – it’s that time, in nature, in social scenes, hell – in many more places in my life than I’m capable of changing at the moment.¬† While I am frustrated with some things and really want to change that direction, I think I should focus on the inward spiral of winter – nurturing not only myself through this time but also our home and spending quality recharge time with each other.

Though more and more, my winters become full of burner events (last year I started driving to philly for conclave in February), and this necessary down time is sacrificed… I will – and this sounds familiar – seek balance and try to focus more on self care.

It may snow this weekend.¬† But baby we’ve got no place to go (except dinner, in town) so let it snow let it snow let it snow!

So often snow or illness MAKES us stop and rest in the winter.  My holiday wish for everyone is that you find the time to rest and recharge yourself before you catch a cold, and enjoy every beautiful snowfall.*

* Why yes, Mizz Buttafl’i, I AM looking at you when I say this ūüėĬ† as well as all my other gorgeous friends and family.