My Little Slice of America

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So, it’s the Fourth of July and what better time to tell you all about the place I live. I had a wonderful weekend. We biked on some of our area’s hundreds of miles of connected bike trails (we rode probably close to 100 miles in the past three days), we went to a baseball game at our local minor league baseball stadium, we visited the United States Air Force Museum (the largest in the nation!) and we spent a lot of time with friends, family and well… a lot of time catching up one some much needed sleep!

So, let me tell you about my wonderful slice of America… Dayton, Ohio!
This is where I live… the Cannery Lofts!
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This is my wonderful kitchen where I get to create my cakes!
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I really love Dayton because it feels small enough to be a community, but large enough that living downtown feels urban and fun.
We have amazing architecture and a huge love of the arts here in Dayton.
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arch

art

downtown
Our sky line might not be massive, but gosh it can sure look pretty!
cityscape

We have SO much history here in Dayton. The Wright Brothers did so much for our city and the world! They created amazing bicycles and invented the airplane! This all happened just blocks from where I live! Now that’s awesome.
history

We have a minor league baseball team, the Dayton Dragons. There’s not much more American than baseball!
baseball

Riverscape has so many wonderful things these days. We have concessions, fountains, spray grounds, amazing landscaping and awesome views.
riverscape
And of course, it’s the entryway to most of our amazing bike paths!
bike

We have the Oregon District… a great little district of shops, bars, restaurants and art galleries.
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I work here at Blind Bob’s on the weekends.

And I work here! At Hauer Music!
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Tonight we went to an all American BBQ at Blind Bob’s and I baked, decorated and brought in some festive cupcakes!
cupcakes
insidecake speciadelivery
I rode them over to the bar on my bike!

The next time you think Ohio sounds boring, think about all the amazing things Ohio has done for America and all it has to offer!
ohio

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What is the Santa Claw?

I know, this is a cake blog. I’m supposed to be telling you about cake… but seriously, some times crazy things happen and this is one of those things. I feel the need to share it with the world. So here is my long off topic inside scoop on The Santa Claw.

You may have heard about The Santa Claw already. It’s possible you saw it posted on the daily what. Or on a gamer blog or on laughing squid.

It seems to be in a shroud of mystery though. Every thing I’ve found online is vague and pretty much just a copy+paste job of the same few paragraphs.

I wanted to bring you more than that.

As far as I can tell, this the first blog to bring “inside answers” about the Santa Claw.

So, I know there are lots of questions. Who the hell is the Real Art group and why are they making us stand in a virtual line queue for 8 hours waiting for our chance to operate the world’s largest claw machine from the comfort of our own homes?

As it turns out, I’m lucky enough to live a mere two blocks from this beastly game. So I went and got the answers for you.

santaclaw 007
What is the Santa Claw?
The Santa Claw is the world’s largest claw machine! It’s located in Dayton, Ohio in the Real Art building.
When I got to go into the Real Art building, I’ve never wished so much in my entire life that I would have gone to college. Though I did well in school, I really disliked the experience of being in school. That and I was really poor. So I never went. I assume, though, that if I had gone, I might some day have had a chance at working someplace as amazingly cool as Real Art. Holy wow. This place is sort of what you imagine in your head when you imagine a place where they make video games or something.
I was given a tour and lead through out staircases and levels and rooms that were all just inspiring and awesome.
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So… what inspires a place to build the world’s largest claw machine in their break room?
santaclaw 009

I mean… the thing is created from 2,000 pounds of steel, 700 feet of wire and 1.5 electric wheelchairs, the actual claw game measures 17 feet x 8 feet x 12 feet. Pure insanity. It’s butted against the windows which is sweet because you can go up to the windows and watch it being played.

So what do they get out of it??? What do YOU get out of it?
I’m told Real Art does something crazy every year to thank their clients and staff for another great year. I’m told this is the largest/most elaborate thing so far lol. They don’t want to send out normal boring corporate gifts. (I mean… I know I was pretty excited when my company got a box full of delicious holiday treats from one of our vendors… but this is just awesome.)
They sent their clients metal tokens… These large tokens wished them a happy holiday and invited them to go to http://www.thesantaclaw.com on January 3rd for a chance to win one of “Santa’s cast-off gifts.”

“It was one of those things that we started joking about over lunch one day, and it just kind of grew from there,” said Chris Wire, owner of Real Art Design Group.

Well guys, word traveled quickly, as some of you may realize. On the first day they went live the site received about 19,000 views and about 400 people had already played by 5:00 that day!
Obviously, only one person can play at a time, but on the first day wait times started around 15 minutes- an hour or so… by the next day, things had sky-rocketed and the site was receiving so much traffic that things were starting to get crazy. Wait times were hours long and the site ended up going down for a bit.

The first time I saw The Santa Claw IRL was during that time. I walked by as they all huddled around the computer screens attempting to fix the issues.

So your big question is what do I win??? Are they REALLY going to send me something? I’ve even seen flat out speculation that they just want your information so they can send you spam mail. I can now assure you, with certainty, this is not the case!

If you win a prize in the Santa Claw(one prize per household.), they WILL mail it to you!(as long as you live in the contiguous 48 in the US) You will be charged nothing and there is no catch. Pinky swear. One thing that seems to be confusing people is the question “What did I just win?” Well! I have the answers! If you drop a squishy ball down the chute… you win a squishy ball! If you drop a clear bubble with a gift box in it, you win a random gift! If you manage to pick a specific prize… they send you THAT prize! How cool is that, right?

Now don’t go complaining about how you waited 8 hours to win a bouncy ball! It’s not about that! You got to play the world’s largest claw machine… and you won! And you get a sweet bouncy ball FOR FREE. And if anyone gives you shit about “dude why do you have a hot pink bouncy ball?” You can say “Hey I won that playing the world’s largest claw machine!”

What are the “random” prizes?
Well, I got to see some of the prizes in the “claw stuff room” and it’s just fun little things.
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A lot of it is just silly stuff. Obviously, they’re not going to mail you the keys to a new car. I mean, have you seen how many people win this thing every day?
They sourced gifts on the internet and bought some random ones at Trader’s World. They’re saying the prizes are oddball and random, but they also have some very cool ones – Alien Workshop threw in some skateboards and shirts!
So some lucky lucky folks will be getting something super sweet! You never know!

It’s expected that the machine will be up and running at least a couple of months. (though I’m told not to quote anyone on that ;) lol) The idea of ad hosting is being tossed around as a way to extend the timeline of the santaclaw if the interest stays constant.
Right now though, it’s a great piece of advertising for The Real Art group and everyone is just having a blast with it.

So, how do you play?

Well, wait times are astronomical right now. But never fear! There’s a method to this which my friends and I seem to have perfected. You login using your email, facebook or twitter account. Super easy. Then you can customize your little person and then you wait. Wait times have been around 5-8 hours.
in ine
I know… it sounds crazy, but it is what it is. So get logged in and go do something. I have left it running in the background while at work. Then you come back to it later, maybe check in and see how much time is left once in a while. Then I like to watch other people play for the last 15 minutes or so and scope out the balls.
You get two screen views when it’s your turn. A front view and a view from above the claw. It’s pretty easy to navigate, which you do with either your mouse or your arrow keys.
in gamein gamein game

You get 60 seconds to pick out a ball and grab for it. I’ve played 3 times. I won the 1st time, dropped my ball the 2nd time and won again the 3rd time. Of course, I will only get one prize :), but everyone is welcome to play as much as you can/want.

Inside the building there is a screen that shows who is playing. I got a message from a friend yesterday asking if I just played because he saw my name pop up when he was loading balls into the machine. I didn’t know he worked there and he told me that he built the machine! What the hell?! How are my friends going to hold out on me on some cool shit like that??? How are you going to build the Santa Claw and then just not tell every single person you know?
Oh well. Craziness.

Patrice, who was really awesome and showed me around the Real Art building, said that “The project gives the Real Art team an opportunity to show off a variety of their talents and venture into a few new areas as well. From sketching original characters and building a site to fabricating the claw game and then hooking it up to the Web for everyone to play, the project was definitely a collaborative effort.”

So there you have it.
World’s largest claw machine. It’s in Dayton. It’s free. Anyone around the world can play. Your prize is mailed to you, one per house hold if you live in the US.
It’s awesome. That’s all you really need to know. So… get in line!!!

Outside the Santa Claw

Okay, so now that I’ve made you guys put up with my Santa Claw rambling, I’m off to work on a cake tutorial for you guys to make up for it lol.
Thanks for putting up with my craziness. I hope you all get to play The Santa Claw and win!

UPDATES:
Here’s the trailer video if you don’t want to wait on the flash intro on the page:

Also, someone told me in the comments to hold down R, A or D while in the line. I tried it out for you guys and it’s cute. It makes your avatar do little things.
I’m looking for a video of someone winning. I’ll keep you guys posted.

And golly gee wilikers gum drops, it’d be just dandy if you’d please ask my permission to use any of my photos or quote my blog as a lot of time and effort went into this blog post. Come on, I almost froze my face off walking down there. <3

***UPDATE!!!***
I got my prize today!

Santa Claw Prize Certificate

Santa Claw Prize

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