We’re located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona so we’re pretty used to reptilian neighbors. One of our local customers caught our eye recently because of the interesting name of the business, Radical Reptile Fun. We caught up with Mike McAllister, co-owner of this business along with his girlfriend and fellow reptile enthusiast Tegan, to talk about the entertaining and quirky side of reptiles as they are the stars of this show. Here’s what he had to say:
Would you tell us what Radical Reptile Fun is about?
ike McAllister - Radical Reptile Fun is the most affordable reptile experience in Arizona. We bring reptiles to birthdays, schools and any event and make sure kids get an up close experience with the reptiles. We are about promoting education of up to day knowledge of our scaly friends. Our biggest goal is conservation of reptile species and showing that they have a place in the world and they are just misunderstood.
Radical Reptile Fun Birthday Party
How has the company evolved since you first went into business?
M.M.- We started out slow with only 20 reptiles with just the general 1 hr. show. We’ve gotten to know our customers and now we have 6 different shows with a 7th coming up in the fall. We have gotten to the point where word of mouth is our biggest asset.
What do you feel is the most important thing for people to understand about reptiles?
M.M. - That they have a place in this world and as long as they are respected and understood we can coexist. The most common question I get is "Will it bite me?" I want to change that aspect on reptiles. I don’t want your first question to be this when I bring out a snake. I want your first question to be a positive one like "where is that from" or "why does it have those colors?"
Hopal the Albino Burmese Python
What do you think is the fundamental difference between people that love animals with scales versus fur?
M.M. - We are just so used to seeing animals with fur that we know them all. You see a giraffe or a lion you automatically know what it is. However I can bring out several snake species of different colors, patterns, and shapes and you have no idea what it is except that it’s just a snake.
Radical Reptile Fun is also a reptile rescue, would you elaborate on that?
.M.- We do rescue reptiles. The word is used generally. Most of our rescues are animals that have been taken care of extremely well by previous owners. Most of the time the kids have gotten bored of it and the parents just don’t want to take care of it. We do have some banged up rescue animals but we provide them a good home. We do rehome our rescues but usually to private individuals who we trust. WE DO NOT RESELL OUR RESCUES and we are proud to say that. A lot of "rescues" just take in animals and flip them for a profit, we don’t do that. We only sell animals we have personally bought or bred.
Hubert Cumperdale the Crested Gecko also known as the Eyelash Gecko.
What advice would you give to someone looking to have a reptile or other exotic creature as a pet?
M.M. - READ, READ, READ. The more you look up the animal and read about that animal you obtain all the knowledge about how to care for the animal. Also make sure you have a plan. If the animal is going to get big make sure you know what you’re going to do ahead of time before it gets big.
What’s the strangest rescue creature you’ve taken in?
M.M. - We took in some tarantulas that were rescued from a friend of mine. She got them from a school that was done doing venom testing and was going to euthanize them.
Rose Hair Tarantula
Why did you order custom t-shirts?
M.M. - We have had sooooo many customer requesting us to provide T shirts for our business. So we listened and so far we have delivered. Out of all the t shirt sites we picked you all because you were the most affordable and didn’t have silly clauses after buying t shirts nor did you screw us over in shipping cost! Even when there was a minor problem you fixed it completely and timely that we were extremely impressed. Can't wait for our next order!
Custom Printed Tee Shirt
Traci Gauthier is the author and webmaster of The Bloggy Dogs, a blog site that features articles, advice, tips and recipes geared specifically toward the canine lover. And of course, lots of pictures and details showcasing the escapades of the stars of the show, Goji and Oreo. We asked Traci to share with us some of the backstory on why she developed The Bloggy Dogs and her viewpoint on a few issues surrounding dog adoption and the relationship between humans and the friendly little tail wagers known as man’s best friend.
Goji and Oreo
What was the vision behind developing The Bloggy Dogs?
Traci Gauthier - The Bloggy Dogs is about sharing the stories of our experiences with our dogs, particularly my experience as a first time dog owner. The goal is to connect and share stories with other dog lovers and better understand the human dog relationship. Eventually, the blog will lead to the creation of a book, so it's like a living book editing process too.
Do you have a favorite breed of dog?
T.G. - I'm probably a Border Collie/Heeler type because of their working type character and physical esthetic. I would never get a dog from a breeder though, I'm all about adopting, so when it comes down to it, I'll adopt a dog that connects with me and my lifestyle...which could be any kind of mix breed!
Oreo and Goji see a squirrel
What can dogs teach us humans?
T.G. - That's a huge question, so I'll simplify here- I believe a dog is mirror of a person's character because of two reasons: 1. They've been bred to work for us in a number of capacities, so they're very in tune with human behaviors and 2. They can reconnect us with our most basic animal-selves, like communication without words and unconditional love without judgement. Humans just have to remember that dogs are dogs, but we can be companions for each other.
What are some insights you can share with anti-dog people that might make them change their mind?
T. G. - Some people just don't like animals for any number of reasons, so I really have no idea what it would take to get some anti-dog person to love dogs. Some people think that they need to own a dog, but owning a dog is a huge responsibility and someone who already has negative feelings toward them would probably create bad human/dog relationship. Most people who are anti-anything are simply lacking experience in the thing they hate...they probably just need to hang out around more good dogs. I was a cat person for years and thought dogs were dirty and slobbery, but dogs are very moldable creatures. They simply want to please you- so who could hate that!?
Oreo helping in the kitchen
Do you have any specific opinion on adopting a dog versus buying from a breeder?
T.G. - There are great breeders and there are great shelters...and bad on both sides too. I spent 2 months searching for a dog that suited my lifestyle and esthetics and about 6 months of dog research before that...I sought to only adopt because there are great dogs already out there, I didn't need to wait for some breeder to make one. When looking for a dog companion to share the next 10-20 years with, it's worth seeking out breeders or shelters that are doing the best they can to fit your personality with the personality of the dog. However, I will always say adopt because many dogs and pets in general are already out there waiting for some wonderful human to look after them.
Goji, the mighty hunter
The site has a very particular style with great imagery, do you
handle all the photography and design in-house?
T.G. - I'm a graphic designer and photographer by trade and passion, so I basically combined my love for my dogs with my love for art and put it on the web. I'm always reinventing my style too, so I imagine the site will go through many style changes through the years.
What purpose do the custom Bloggy Dogs T-Shirts have?
T.G. - I've been making shirt designs for years, so I thought I'd try branding my dogs too. It's really just for fun at this point. I'm working on a whole new set of designs that will cater to the dogcentric person as a whole. Some it will be custom work for people and other designs are simply that, dogcentic art on a shirt! Once I get more established with my online store, I'm going to partner up with a national charity organization and donate most of the proceeds. I just have to research which charities will be the best fit first.
This post is meant to be a spotlight featuring t-shirt designers we feel have influenced the t-shirt design and printing industry and to hopefully introduce new fans to their artwork. Many of the designers are multi-talented meaning they may not have started with the intention of lighting t-shirt culture on fire, but their design aesthetics translate really well into t-shirt art. They are featured in no specific order
Lots of professional artists would just be happy working but not this guy, he left a corporate artist gig to become a freelance artist only doing the type of designs he appreciates. After having been ignored by the record labels he reached out to merchandising companies and found a back way into the hearts of some of the biggest band and artist names out there. He’s designed for Deadmau5, Eminem, the Foo Fighters and even brands like Adidas. According to his 2010 interview with Go Media, Geoff gets his inspiration from other graphic artist like Chad Lenjer, and Angryblue as well as 50’s iconic pop art.
Jimmy Heartcore, otherwise known as Jimmy Breen has been involved with the designing graphic tees for a very long time. He’s owned several businesses including the now defunct Heartcore Clothing brand. Don’t worry though, he’s still designing phenomenal t-shirt art and illustrations and working with a handful of choice record labels and brands such as Sleeping with Sirens, Young the Giant and the Wu-Tang Clan.
An entrepreneurial spirit spurred Johnny Cupcakes to create the first ever bakery inspired clothing brand. His very original concept was initially launched because of the nickname coworkers had given him, Johnny Cupcakes. The original t-shirt design was a combination of his nickname with a heavy metal edge. What is most inspiring about this t-shirt designer is his passion to have fun with brand and come up with different ways to insert cupcake imagery within the bounds of popular and iconic references. His brand goes beyond the design to create an entire experience with the way the t-shirts are displayed in his retail store and pop up stores when “on tour.” He has essentially built a Cult of Cupcakes as he shares his experience, passion and entrepreneurial spirit with fans around the world.
Obey is much bigger than a clothing company, it’s an ideal that began with Shepard Fairy a designer, artist and idealist from South Carolina. He started his career in art at the Rhode Island School of Design where a sticker intended to make viewers question their views and belief systems turned into the iconic Obey Giant. He turned his passion for underground based art into a business of t-shirts and stickers. He later co-founded the design studio BLK/MRKT which focused on guerilla marketing for major brands. His body of work expands to pretty epic proportions including multiple Times Magazine cover illustrations, President Barrack Obama’s “Hope” poster as well as numerous design donations to non-profit organizations. He collaborates with designers Mike Ternosky and Erin Wignall to realize his vision in the clothing aspect of his story.
Isaboa is otherwise known as Joe Carr publishes under his brand, Antiquated Press. He’s been working with pen and ink always and finds that his creations translate well to t-shirts. His work can be found on commercial products and illustrations as well as a handful of artist community themed t-shirt sites like Threadless and The Shirt List. His work is highly detailed and imaginative and he likes to create his own prints using intanglio printmaking. He’s been an invaluable contributor to t-shirt culture and furthering the t-shirts as art movement.
Ever wondered what the world would be like if something you love was never invented or heard of? We wonder what the world would be like if t-shirts didn’t exist. Seriously, it keeps us up at night. Let’s take a look at how our world would be radically different if t-shirts had never been invented.
Remember the famous Seinfeld episode where Jerry agreed to wear the Low Talker’s Puffy Shirt for his appearance on The Today Show? We’ll we do. Imagine if clothing designers had to imagine absurd trends like this instead of focusing on the undeniable comfort of a 100% cotton tee?
Most everyone has known the joy of falling asleep between crisp clean sheets in just an over-sized tee. While adorable on toddlers and embarrassingly awesome on cold winter nights, imagine an alternative universe where the only choice for nightie night time were adult onesies.
T-shirts talk for us like nothing else. We can make statement through t-shirts without having for overtly engage with passersby. A world without t-shirts would be a world without heart but probably lots of key-chains.
How Will People Know I’m Incredibly Witty and Sarcastic?
Without t-shirts a lot of us would go through life without the capability to alert the public to our extreme wit and humor. Before the popularization of t-shirts, the only people who got “air-time” were well established and connected comedians and actors. A world full of t-shirts lets each one us show off our inner Mark Twain or Daniel Tosh.
Would the 60’s still have happened with the advent of the tie dye t-shirt? We don’t know but it certainly would have been dramatically different. Tie dye was the most identifiable insignia of the hippie next to the peace sign and flowers. Without tie dye, it might have been impossible for Dead Heads to navigate to the next show and they would have wandered aimlessly into corporate American changing the landscape of our nation as we know it.
Rock Bands Would Lose a Significant Source of Income
Did you know that on average a rock band makes 6% of their income from branded “merch”? As profitability in music industry becomes increasingly difficult due to digital music stores and even talented musicians become nonessential due to the proliferation of talent, this stream of revenue remains steady. 6% may not seem like a lot until you lose it.
No Fun Pinterest Pics with Ways to Reuse Old T-Shirts
Pinterest is a platform where people make lists for things they wish they could do, make or buy. Within this universe of beautifully staged hopes and dreams is plenty of DIY’s featuring the many uses of old t-shirts. Among the many ways to upcycle old t-shirts are rugs, belts, scarves, headbands, belts, bags pillows and quilts. A world without t-shirts would force these little Martha Stewarts’ to use less pliable materials like old Levi’s or old shoes. The results would be far less fanciful.
As the N.S.A. Surveillance Bill controversy comes to a boil in the Senate we take a lighter look at reasons why the government may object to t-shirts as a mode of communication. Here’s our top 7 picks.
1. Reliving Old Embarrassments
Nixon Resigns via Pip R. Lagenta, Creative Commons License
Nobody likes to admit our once Commander-in-chief was involved in trying to buy-off burglars, stop the F.B.I. from investigating, bullying staff members and being an all around public embarrassment but it happened, it was true and we've got the vintage t-shirt photos to prove it.
2. Mobilization of the Once Disenfranchised
Vote Y'all via Natalie Maynor, Creative Commons License
Historically and even not so historically women have struggled to be on equal footing with male voters. To embolden women to cast their votes definitely upsets the status quo that would rather this t-shirt state, "Keep it in the kitchen, ya'll."
3. Dissolution of Traditional Values
American Gothic Revised via Tony Alter Creative Commons License
If you have the artistic talent, it's easy to customize an iconic image like this and turn the original message on it's head. But such as this is in a free country.
4. The Celebration of Historical Patriots
Davy Crockett Quote via Wikithreads, Creative Commons License
Once a celebrated patriot, today Davy Crockett would be labeled as a bleeding heart liberal or a political malcontent. He stood against supporting institutions that primarily provided benefits to the wealthy, voted against the Indian Removal Act and ultimately headed a revolution in Texas for independence from Mexican Government.
Please Don't Eat Me via rusvaplauke, Creative Commons License
The government hates the promotion of vegetarianism because meat, especially the beef industry accounts for 21% of all agricultural enterprises. While the beef industry has been stable, government meddling in traditional farming has resulted in an almost inextricably complicated spaghetti of subsidization (primarily of rich farmers and landowners) and import and trade values. To fire up the "breadbasket" would force the government to solve a decades old problem within its system.
6. Contempt for Public Office
Domo For President via Mike Mozart, Creative Commons License
Political scandal has plagued our nation for many decades. With the development of 24-hour news programs breeding rabidly hungry investigative journalists, there's nary a stone left unturned. Our politicians and government provide plenty of fodder. Just look at this last year with the "missing" IRS emails, Bridgegate, and the VA Crisis. it's no wonder why many Americans are flippant with their "political" t-shirts.
7. Rejection of Conspicuous Consumption
Live with Less via Regan Walsh, Creative Commons License
Consuming goods and energy is what keeps our economy going and the top 1% of the elite firmly cemented in their lofty positions. The growing ideology put forth by world visionaries such as Gandhi, Desmond Tutu and Noam Chomsky threaten to upset this balance.