What are Silly Bandz?

Silly Bandz are a brand of silicone rubber bands with shapes including animals, objects, and letters. They are distributed by BCP Imports and are generally worn as bracelets by middle school, highschool, and elementary students.

The toys come in dozens of shapes, colors, and themes, and can be used as a regular rubber band. On someone’s wrist, they look like a regular bracelet, and when taken off they revert to their original shape. They are often worn many at a time, like sleeves, and are traded like other collectibles.

Children playing with Silly Bandz wristbands

The idea was inspired by shaped silicone office products that were created with the hopes of being a green product. They did not work as companies did not want to spend that much on rubber bands. They were then made larger to fit as bracelets and re-branded as Silly Bandz by Robert Croak. The toys are sold in packs of 24 for about $4.95 to $5.95. A number of competing manufacturers make the product. BCP Imports, located in Toledo, Ohio, supplies Silly Bandz.

Silly Bandz were first sold on-line in November 2008 then gained popularity in Birmingham, Alabama stores in the fall of 2009 and were widespread across the south by October 2009. They then moved up the east coast of the United States, reaching New Jersey, Long Island, and Staten Island in November the same year. As of April 2010, Sillybandz sold the bracelets to 8,000 stores across the U.S., and seven spots on Amazon’s April 22 list of best-selling toys and games were occupied by the bracelets.

One parent attributed the toy’s success to being easily lost and broken, and said that, “If your friend has the princess kind, then you have to have the princess kind, too.” Seth McGowan, a toy industry analyst for Needham & Company, said it is refreshing that the “lowest of technologies” is appealing to children. Silly Bandz have been banned in many classrooms for being too distracting.

According to a Boston Globe article the bands are so popular (and distracting) that some area schools are taking action. In Milton, the principal of the lower school of the St. Mary of the Hills School asked students to stop wearing the bands after teachers reported that some kids were crying over lost bracelets or playing with the bands instead of listening in class.

The TOP selling Silly Bandz theme is:

Princess Shapes Silly Bandz:
The 24-Pack Princess Shapes includes: Tiara, Diamond Ring, Glass Slipper, Princess, Majestic Castle, Magic Wand. This pack has shapes in six assorted colors to be collected, worn, or traded with friends. They can be treated as traditional rubber bands and worn as bracelets but spring back into their original shape when not in use. Buy the Princess Shapes Silly Bandz for $4.95 now.

Rock Band Silly Bandz
The 24-Count Rock Bandz Shape Pack of colorful silicone bands includes Guitars, Rock Hands, Mic Stands, Drums, Jumping Rockers, and Rock. This pack has shapes in six assorted colors to be collected, worn, or traded with friends. They can be treated as traditional rubber bands and worn as bracelets but spring back into their original shape when not in use. Buy the Rock Band Silly Bandz for $4.95 now.

Spring Time Silly Bandz (it has been Retired/Discontinued):
The 24-Pack Spring Time Shapes includes: Butterflies, Bees, Tulips, Umbrellas, Kites, and Chicks. This pack has shapes in six assorted colors to be collected, worn, or traded with friends. They can be treated as traditional rubber bands and worn as bracelets but spring back into their original shape when not in use. Buy the Spring Time Silly Bandz for $5.95 now.

Fantasy Shapes Silly Bandz:
The 24-Pack Fantasy Shapes includes: Mermaids, Unicorns, Fairies, Dragons, Phoenix, and Genies. This pack has shapes in six assorted colors to be collected, worn, or traded with friends. They can be treated as traditional rubber bands and worn as bracelets but spring back into their original shape when not in use. Buy the Fantasy Shapes Silly Bandz for $4.95 now.

The Top 10 Video Games of 2009

Here’s Time Magazine’s look at the Top 10 video games of 2010, plus links to where you can snag these titles or the toys based on the hits!

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Some mornings you wake up in bed. Some mornings you wake up trapped in a wrecked train car that’s hanging off a cliff. That’s life when you’re Nathan Drake, artifact hunter. The charming, roguish Drake is after the secret of Marco Polo’s lost fleet, and it’s going to take a lot of fisticuffs and gunplay and problem-solving to find it. The hunt takes you through an unbelievable sequence of epic settings, one after another, each one topping the one before it: jungle ruins, mountaintops, Tibetan cities. As if that weren’t enough, the writing and voice acting are way above par for a video game. Seriously. Anybody who was disappointed by the last Indiana Jones movie — meaning everybody — should try Uncharted 2 instead.

Assassin’s Creed II for XBox
Assassin’s Creed II for PS3

Most sequels are creative flops, just cheap makeovers of the originals. Not Assassin’s Creed 2, a follow-up to the 2007 smash hit. This is a smarter, more polished version, with a visually stunning backdrop — Renaissance Italy. While the game looks beautiful, game play has been refined and tweaked for the ultimate open-world RPG experience. There’s even more assassinating, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and history lessons, with an emphasis on Renaissance art. Leonardo would be proud — except for those cheesy Italian voice-overs.

Halo 3: ODST
Just when it was starting to look like the Halo franchise was played out, Bungie took it for a sharp turn, down an alleyway and directly into the shadows. You no longer play the superpowered Master Chief; instead, you play, serially, the members of a squad of comparatively vulnerable Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The squad is lost and scattered through the ruins of New Mombasa, on a secret mission the point of which its members are only gradually figuring out. It’s a dark, slow, jazzy, hard-boiled take on the Halo world — think Master Chief as Philip Marlowe.

Maybe the developers of Scribblenauts were bored with existing puzzle games, but something inspired them to think outside the box. In fact, that’s also what they want players to do. You’re presented with one objective at every level of play, with different parameters and limitations. Your quest is to capture the Starite, and you’re allowed to bring in help. Think a stapler or a dinosaur or a wizard can assist you in your quest? Simply type in the name of your chosen ally, and, poof!, it appears. As your vocabulary grows, so does your potential army of allies

Geo-Defense Swarm (available on iTunes)
I never thought I’d be sitting around singing the praises of the iPhone on this list. The hardware was just too limited — no buttons, no sticks, no tactile feedback. But hordes of developers have proved me totally wrong: this thing can game. Exhibit A out of dozens of quality iPhone games this year: Geo-Defense Swarm, a rich, fast-paced, visually stunning take on the tower-defense genre. Tricked out with neon-glowing candy colors that show off the iPhone’s ridiculously overpowered display, Swarm is a little masterpiece of interface design, balanced game play and clever level design.

New Super Mario Bros Wii
Welcome back, Mario. We missed you. The classic side-scrolling platformer is back with updated graphics and a multiplayer mode that’s so much fun it might supplant DJ Hero as the go-to party game. The story isn’t much different from what we’re used to and involves rescuing the princess because, yet again, she’s stuck in a castle somewhere at the other end of the map. But you get some nice 3-D effects and better use of lighting, which gives the screen more depth. What’s more, the little kids watching you play can join in the game as novices. Of course, that means there will be no one left to get you popcorn.

Borderlands for XBox
Borderlands for PS3
Borderlands for PC

Pandora is a down-and-dirty mining planet that resembles a trashed, irradiated version of the American Wild West. Your job is to scour that landscape in search of the Vault, a semi-legendary cache of technology and wealth. This mostly involves collecting an astounding variety of bad-ass guns and tooling around in funky dune-buggy-type vehicles with really bouncy suspensions while blowing away deranged and mutated bad guys. Borderlands is a marvel of hybrid game design: you add levels and skills as in a role-playing game, but you’re doing it in a sandbox-style open world while engaging in run-and-gun first-person-shooter combat. Add in astounding graphics and wickedly clever writing, and you have something that’s about as close as you can get to a perfect game.

DJ Hero WII Bundle with Turntable
DJ Hero Bundle for XBox with Turntable
DJ Hero for PS3 Bundle with Turntable

In a world of wannabe rock bands — enough already with the rehashed songs from yesteryear — DJ Hero offers a welcome change. With an incredible sound track of exclusive mixes and some lush nightclub graphics, DJ Hero is the new contender for best party game. True, it feels a bit awkward at first to be hunched over a plastic faux turntable, but once you start scratching and mixing, you’ll quickly fall into the groove. And where else could you blend Blondie with a mix of the Gorillaz or Daft Punk with Queen?

Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3
Batman: Arkham Asylum for XBox
Batman: Arkham Asylum for PC

The ghoulish Joker may never scare movie audiences again, but the struggle between good and evil rages on with Batman: Arkham Asylum, which picks up right where Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight left off. Gotham’s savior finds himself trapped in Arkham Asylum, surrounded by every deviant he’s ever put away — with the Joker at the helm. Unlike earlier video-game adaptations of the DC Comics hero, Arkham Asylum is the total package, with compelling story lines and a kick-butt combat system. Of course, you’ll have to supply your own cape.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for XBox
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for PS3

This is a game that sends a message: Video games have something intelligent to say about contemporary military conflicts. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you hop around the globe, chasing the front lines of globalized, asymmetrical combat, where not everybody wears uniforms, war isn’t always declared, and the battlefield isn’t clearly marked — battles rage through suburbs, airports and people’s living rooms. There’s tons of raw, riveting military action in Modern Warfare 2, but it’s very much about how the game has changed: limiting civilian casualties and figuring out whom to fight and why are just as important as staying alive.

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And for those of you who want to take gaming into the real world, we’ve got a huge selection of video game toys over in CmdStore’s Video Game Section! Check ’em out!

Top 10 Internet Moments of the Decade

The birth of Wikipedia, the death of Napster, the iPhone, Facebook and Twitter have been named by the Webby Awards as among the top 10 Internet moments of the decade.

Other events singled out by New York’s International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which bestows the annual Webby Awards, were Iran’s election protests, Craigslist’s expansion and the launch of Google AdWords.

The recurring theme among all of the milestones on the list is the Internet’s capacity to circumvent old systems and put more power into the hands of ordinary people.

The Webby Awards list of the 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade:

* Craigslist online classified site expands outside San Francisco (2000)

* The launch of Google AdWords (2000)

* The launch of online encyclopedia Wikipedia (2001)

* The shutdown of file-sharing site Napster (2001)

* Google’s initial public offering (2004)

* The online video revolution led by YouTube (2006)

* Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter launches (2006)

* Apple’s iPhone debuts (2007)

* The use of the Internet in the US presidential campaign (2008)

* The use of Twitter during the Iranian election protests (2009)

Have anything to add?  Go ahead and comment….

The Top 10 Sexiest Vampires

Top 10 Sexiest Vampires

There is just something about the undead that gets our pulses racing. Whether it’s the fact that vampires only come out at night or that they reel in their prey by seducing them first, we continue to see them as more lustful, irresistible and exciting than any other horror flick creature.

In honour of True Blood, the racy new vampire drama on FX, we have compiled a list of the top ten sexiest vampires of all time. There were a lot to choose from, so if you disagree with our selection please feel free to tell us in the comment section below.

10: Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys, 1987

Proof that Sutherland was actually sexy before he began torturing terrorists and trying to single-handedly save the American people in 24. This is the film that started the teen vampire craze and it’s packed full of great Eighties tunes (Remember Cry Little Sister?), male bonding of the slightly homoerotic Topgun variety and teenage rebellion. Yes, we’re afraid of him, but when Sutherland, aka David, starts jumping off railway bridges we want to be part of his gang. It seems a bit wrong to pine for someone with a mullet – but we just do.

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9: Sharon Tate, The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1967

Roman Polanski’s camp vampire comedy, subtitled Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck, was panned by critics as being slow-moving and unwitty, but Tate is cute as a button as the innkeeper’s daughter who fraternizes with the local vampires before being abducted and turned into one. Tate had hardly done any films at this stage and has a playful innocence that audiences (and Polanski, who married her a year later – shortly before she was murdered) loved.

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8: James Marsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1997 (TV series)

What, Spike over Angel? Now before hordes of Buffy fans send in indignant letters about the exclusion of David Boreanaz, let us explain: Spike makes our top ten because he represents the ultimate female fantasy: the bad boy who abandons his evil ways because of his love for a woman (unlike Angel, who is already good when Buffy meets him). He is like the Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons; Mr Big in Sex and the City; Danny Zuko in Grease (just a bit more sinister and with tighter leather). And in the end, he doesn’t run straight off to his own inferior spin-off series, thank you very much; nope, Spike – spoiler alert – sacrifices his life for his lady. What could be sexier than that?

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7: Catherine Deneuve, The Hunger, 1983

Deneuve gets our vote for being the only successful blonde vampiress that we can think of, in The Hunger, a modern-day gothic vampire flick that gathered a substantial cult following in the years after its release, partly because it co-stars David Bowie, and partly because Deneuve gets it on with Susan Sarandon. Deneuve brings a certain elegance to her role as the sensuous Miriam – not surprising given that she had already managed to make a prostitute with a penchant for rough sex look chic in Belle de Jour in 1967.

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6: Monica Bellucci, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992

Even in a stellar cast that includes Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins, a then unknown Bellucci still managed to shine as one of Dracula’s beautiful vampire brides in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 classic. Unlike Dracula himself, Bellucci’s character is not even remotely likeable, but she does positively exude sex, embodying cinema’s fascination with vampires’ raw, relentless sexuality.

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5: Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992

He doesn’t seem like much these days, but back in the Nineties let’s not forget Oldman was married to screen goddess Uma Thurman. Oddly handsome and enigmatic in his heyday, in Bram Stoker’s Dracula Oldman is the love-sick count who waits 400 years to find the reincarnation of his much beloved wife. He may have a receding hairline and have murdered her best friend but Winona Ryder is still so enamoured that she tries to drink his blood and become a vampire too.

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4: Kate Beckinsale, Underworld, 2003

Whether or not you think that Beckinsale crossed over to the dark side when she exchanged Michael Sheen and English shores for LA, a perma-tan and a friendship with Victoria Beckham, there’s no denying that she makes a hot vampiress. In Underworld, she plays Selene, an impassioned fighter in the war between vampires and werewolves, until she falls for one of the latter. It’s all very Romeo and Juliet, but in what is really a fairly dull thriller, it’s Selene’s skin tight leather cat suit that does the trick. It certainly got the attention of Len Wiseman, Underworld director and now Beckinsale’s husband.

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3: Stephen Moyer, True Blood, 2008 (TV series)

Moyer has been bumped all the way up to number three on our list of all-time faves because, frankly, we’re smitten. He is Bill, a lonely vampire who, in a contemporary US where vampires drink synthetic blood to survive and have just been granted the vote, is searching for a quiet life in Bon Temps, a small town in the swamps of Louisiana. He is strong, handsome, emotionally vulnerable and throws furtive glances at Anna Paquin’s character Sookie that are desperate with longing. Unlike Twilight’s infantile Robert Pattinson (see below), Bill seems older than his 30 “human years” and his weariness at his own immortality is palpable. Moyer is a Brit, which might explain how he manages to seem so endearingly reserved.

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2: Salma Hayek, From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996

Without doubt one of the most erotic dances in cinema history, Hayek’s perfect, curvaceous form writhing on stage covered only in a very flimsy black bikini and a snake caught the imagination of every cinema-going male in the English-speaking world when From Dusk Till Dawn was released (long before Britney Spears attempted something similar). The fact that she subsequently transforms into a hideous monster and bites a huge chunk off Quentin Tarantino’s neck has done little to diminish her appeal as one of the sexiest vampires of all time. And kudos to Tarantino for getting up close and personal with someone like Hayek in one of the only films he has actually had a major role in.

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1: Brad Pitt, Interview With The Vampire: the Vampire Chronicles, 1994

The ultimate reluctant vampire. Louis’s brand of handsome, brooding anguish is the reason why vampires play on our heartstrings in a way that zombies and werewolves never could. Vampires aren’t always bloodthirsty monsters, but unfortunate creatures whose hunger compels them to kill. When we don’t fear them, we pity them. And Pitt’s paternal relationship with Kirsten Dunst (inappropriate snog aside) makes him more endearing still. This is Pitt at his most youthful, engaging and sympathetic – like his role in Thelma and Louise, but with fangs and a conscience.

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Robert Pattinson, Twilight, 2008

As the dreamy, misunderstood Edward Cullen, Pattinson has become something of an obsession amongst 15-year-old girls of late, the way Leonardo DiCaprio was post-Titanic. But he’s just a bit too teenage for our liking. Yes, he’s the kind of boy you thought was sexy at school because he seemed mysterious and never actually spoke to you. But then you grew up and started liking men who could hold a decent conversation.

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Tom Cruise, Interview With The Vampire: the Vampire Chronicles, 1994

Given his increasingly bizarre behaviour in real life, Cruise’s portrayal of the blood-sucking corrupter Lestat seems positively lamb-like. We know it’s not quite fair to let real life affect our film judgement (and Cruise is actually brilliant as Lestat) but we can’t quite see him as sexy since we saw that YouTube video of an oddly hyper Tom cackling hysterically about his spiritual enlightenment.

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