August 31, 2012

Internet Cat Video Film Festival

if anyone remembers my summer plans list from back in June, August concluded with an Internet Cat Video Film Festival. believe it or not, this was put on by the Walker Art Center, our acclaimed modern art museum. every summer they host a slew of fun interactive stuff on their grounds "to explore what happens when people get together to share and exchange skills and interests, to create something new, or delve into the unknown." this particular event was dreamed up as a social experiment- whether or not viewing cat videos, which is normally an indoor, solitary activity, would translate into an outdoor festival atmosphere with a multitude of people participating together. judging by the amount of time Matt and i watch cute animal videos together, i had a feeling that cat video lovers would feel no shame in gathering on a grassy hillside to watch Keyboard Cat for the eleventy-billionth time.

i was right.

by the time i pulled up on my bike, the hillside was wall to wall people and festival organizers were concluding their introduction. as i scrambled to lock up my bike across the street, people were scurrying past, either saying, "oh my god, look at all the people" or "HURRY UP IT'S STARTING." i was able to find a spot on the hill to squeeze into, right as the show was starting. the cute couple next to me shared their program- this was like a bona fide festival, y'all. videos were broken up into CATegories: Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Animated, Documentary, Musical, Art House, Lifetime Achievement, and People's Choice. all in all, they showed around 70 videos, whittled down from the TEN THOUSAND that were submitted. was there every any doubt that people love their cat videos??

Matt had a band thing so i was there by myself, but it didn't matter. i was surrounded by an estimated 6,000-10,000 fellow cat video enthusiasts and we were all having a blast. when certain videos came up on the screen, people would gasp or say almost involuntarily, "oh i love this one!" crowd pleasers got lots of claps and cheers. the festival ended with the People's Choice results- the top 7 videos voted on earlier in the month. the winner was Henri 2, Paw de Deux, a hilarious black & white short about a French cat with a crippling case of ennui. it was made by a guy in Seattle named Will Braden, and i don't know how he got here, but he was there to accept the Golden Kitty Award in person (below). when asked if he would like to say anything, he took the mic and said, "i'm purring so loudly right now!"

if you want to read more, here's the official page from the Walker's website. and here's the full list of videos shown last night, with a link to watch them all on the Walker's youtube page. (the People's Choice nominations are here) all the photos are by Craig Lassig and found here- click the link to see more pics, including folks who brought their cats last night, dressed up as cats, or wore their cat-themed attire. and because i can't help myself, 2 of my favorite local tweets about the event:

thank you Walker Art Center. i can't wait til next year...

UPDATE- so apparently, the New York Times sent a reporter to the festival. and there were actual cat celebrities in attendance, including the incomparable Lil Bub. looks like i need to plan better for 2013...

UPDATE #2- a nice little video about the night...

August 29, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

i'm not a superfan of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, but i am a fan of anyone who is described as weird, inappropriate, or has a penchant for unusual taxidermy. her memoir chronicles her unique upbringing in West Texas, meeting and marrying her long-suffering husband, and her discovery and continued maintenance of her mental health issues. she has a very distinct style of writing that takes some getting used to- sort of a "no filter" approach. but for me, her story was interesting enough to trump quirky writing style. an easy summer read.

August 25, 2012

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

my friend Mandi had recommended this one to me years ago, but i had forgotten the title and couldn't remember enough of the keywords to properly Google it. then a couple months ago, as i was listening to one of my favorite storytellers on one of my favorite podcasts, the host introduced her by mentioning her memoir The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, and finally 2 + 2 = me putting the book on hold at the library.

the book is great- it's her story about growing up Mormon and moving to New York to go to NYU, attempting to keep the faith while becoming an authentic New Yorker. if you've ever wondered about the 20-something Mormon singles scene in New York... it's bleak. She struggles with both her religion and the surrounding culture she find herself in, especially as an aspiring actor.

i had heard some of the stories before on the Risk podcast, and definitely preferred hearing her perform them live as opposed to reading them. my absolute favorite is For The Love of Nubbins (read on This American Life as "Babies Buying Babies"). you can click here for the whole podcast, or watch the link below:

August 24, 2012

biking with babe

print by Peter Thomas Chang, seen here

August 17, 2012

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis


i had hoped for more from this book- something a little more memoir-y. instead this felt like random paragraphs lifted from her personal journal. a little disjointed, which may have been the point. i did like the passage about anxiety.

August 9, 2012

Pimento cheese

photo from here
at some point last summer, i was seized with cravings for a classic Southern summer food- pimento cheese. i actually didn't even like pimento cheese all that much when i was little. i enjoyed a bite, maybe two, but that was it. but now that i'm older and my palette has matured, i suddenly wanted to give it another go... and i'm so glad i did.

i went searching online for a good recipe, and after calling my mom at 10pm to verify this was the closest thing to what i ate as a kid, i selected Paula Deen's version. i'm not linking to it because that woman uses unholy amounts of mayonnaise and i don't wish that on anyone. unfortunately, i initially trusted her and ended up having to double the other ingredients to prevent my pimento cheese from tasting like gross fatty fatness.

here's my "slightly less horrific for your arteries" recipe:

3 oz of cream cheese
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/4-1/2 cup of mayonnaise, or more/less depending on how much you like mayonnaise
three 2 oz jars of pimentos, sliced
1 teaspoon grated onion
black pepper, garlic salt to taste

1. combine the cheeses
2. add the cream cheese, pimentos, and onion, stir
3. add the mayonnaise- i do this last so i can decrease the amount if i don't need it- and mix everything together
4. add garlic salt and black pepper to taste.

my favorite way to eat it is on either on crackers, a hamburger, or a grilled pimento cheese sandwich. the sandwich can be tricky because it easily melts all over your pan. we devised an alternate plan- grill the sides of bread on their own, then put the sandwich together (feel free to add things like spinach or tomato), then put it in the pan just enough to get it warm and the tiniest bit gooey. perfect.