Sunday, November 30, 2014

I invented something.

It's seasonal, it's delicious, (it's fried), and it features genetically modified ingredients you can find at any gas station in the U.S...I call them STUFF PUPPIES.


Stuff Puppies are a conflation of stuffing and hushpuppies, ie. they are deep fried balls of stuffing with a cornflake crust and a cranberry gusher center. And they are as delicious as any liberty taken with Stauffer's Stovetop Stuffing could ever be and as delicious as anything deep fried always always always is.

Here's how!

1. Aforementioned gas station supplies:
You will also need a fryer...I mean, I guess you could also use a skillet or deep pond of oil in a regular frying, pan...but then again, you could also just eat the Stovetop off of the stove like an ingrate...and that's not much of an invention, is it? SO, I have a little baby fryer I got for 20 bucks and believe you me, it's a messy little joy I won't be giving up anytime soon. You know what else is good fried? Everything! You know what else though? Chickpeas. 

2. Make the stuffing according to the directions on the package. This involves melting a stick of butter in some water on your stove top and dumping in everything else in the box. If you have a lid, you use it to cover your quickly forming stuffing. I used aluminum foil because I don't have a lid right now, ok guys? Then you fluff it up with a fork. You have a fork, don't you? I do, so that's what I used.

3. In the meanwhile, I made the cranberry gusher center by taking a can of that weird jelly cranberry sauce and blending it with some celery. I don't know why. I guess to try and be fancy and maybe a little bit healthy. In the future, I will use this ONLY as the dipping sauce and probably just shove some Craisins in the middle of these guys (also available at better gas stations).
Screwed up, upside down label not necessary, but fun if you can find it. 
4. Prepare your breading station.
5. Once the stuffing has sufficiently cooled to handle, start rolling it into small balls...the smaller the better, so they don't lose shape and crumble in the fryer. Mine got progressively more and more massive and I thought how nice it would be to have a kid around with small hands and the desire to impress me so that I could pawn off more labor intensive tasks like this. In this scenario the kid can also sing (and WELL) on command and knows all my favorite songs since your hands get real messy during this part and you absolutely can not flip the record over so you're left alone with your thoughts and the fact that you're already 45 minutes late to your Thanksgiving Dinner event. 

5A. Dip your smallish balls of stuffing into the whipped up eggs as a binder as old as time before rolling them in those nice smashed up cornflakes. 

6. Get an icing injector thing loaded up with your cranberry/celery concoction and GENTLY inject a little crancelery gusher into the center. I exploded a few pups myself and again, I think this is a step that I will nix in the future. It was too messy and to be honest as much as I like the sounds of the "cranberry gusher center" because, well, you know, when all was said and done, the "gusher center" was more like a faint cranberry ribbon. I tried a raw cranberry before, but that didn't get cooked enough to be gushing either. Again, I think a Craisin or two is the way to go and will also save you the $17 on the fancy injector. Because I grew up year after year shoving icing into old store bought icing containers with the tops cut off for future use, I'm not going to begrudge myself this purchase. I deserve it, you know? Plus, I have a lot of other ideas that involve cursive icing messages on them.

7. Keep going. You're not THAT late.

 8. Pack everything up and get to your final destination. DO NOT FORGET THE CHORD TO THE BABY FRYER! You WILL have to go back and get it. It is CRITICAL.

9. Fill that fryer up with your fresh Saffola oil (no trans fats y'all!) and get that fryer freaking everyone out with it's scent of obesity and cackle of danger. Because you're not a crazy person and only have a baby fryer, you'll need to go in batches. That's ok. No one is having more fun than you are right now and Shark Tank will be on ALL DAY LONG.

10. Work on your presentation with those toothpicks from the gas station and ask someone else for a pleasing serving plate situation because you can't think of everything.

11. Impress EVERYONE! 

12. Pack up the leftovers and put them in the freezer for your friends who will read your blog 3 days later and ask if they can try one. Yes, yes you can. Just let me know when is convenient for you. 


*I did try some other types of stuffing -- a sausage cornbread one from Whole Foods, some other fancy variations from Whole Foods -- but Stauffer's was just the best and holds the ball shape well. I chose the 'Savory Herb" flavor because I feel like there are too few vegetarian** holiday offerings that still offer the kind of unhealthiness that feels right and necessary amongst "loved ones". If I were to come up with an ideal demographic it would be a pudgy (albeit undernourished), vegetarian girl in small town USA with dyed black hair and a family that just doesn't get it because guess what? They. Will. Get. This. "Bringing families together" wouldn't be a bad tagline.

**I know that Stauffer's**** Stovetop Stuffing isn't actually vegetarian because of some chicken remnant stock and flavoring involved in the fabulousness of this product, but I also know that when you are a vegetarian girl in small town USA you don't read packages that well and also, well, your options are limited, so you do what you can.

***I just noticed that this isn't even Stauffer's Stovetop Stuffing. It is KRAFT Stovetop Stuffing. That just goes to show you that good advertising trumps both time and things that are clearly labeled****.

****There's a GMO labeling lesson here somewhere.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

I was a guest on the film podcast Bonnie and Maude!

You can listen to it HERE.

Hanging out, talking about my latest short, "American Gladiators" and the wonderful world of early Jane Campion (thisthis, THIS!) with these two smarties was just super fun.

I was really surprised at how freeing it was to just talk about a visual medium. I mean, I guess as a video person, my whole thing is sort of figuring out what to look at. So when I first showed up, it made sense that I asked them if they ever considered recording video along with their audio recordings...but now I get it. I also get that without picture you can do things like drink a whole bottle of champagne without having to talk about it. This is good because there's just a lot to say.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

I was a contestant on an NPR game show.

Spoiler alert: I lost.

To be a contestant I had to take a quiz, with each section of the quiz focusing on a different...skill. I think it must have been my final essay (a limerick featuring a famous individual) that qualified me to try and rhyme trivia answers with the chorus of Sisqó's "Thong Song" on the radio:

There once was a young celeb dubbed K. Stew.
She was just caught with a woman…but we already knew.  
Vampires weren't the only ones who were on to her scent.
But now it's all out that this straight babe has a bent.  
Gay marriage is new, but shopping at Whole Foods is basically saying 'I do.' 

Remember that? So March 2014 of me. 

Anyway, I'm highly competitive, so I think it's safe to say that my slowness to ring in can only be attributed to my true love of the "Thong Song". How can I think of an answer that rhymes, when I just want him to keep going and get to the good part?


Watching this video as a discerning adult, I have a lot to say: 
1. What a great song! 

2. I really appreciate that Greyhound buses are finally given their due with a glamorous opening montage. I mean, has this ever been done before? I don't know why because the companion fare deal Greyhound offers is a great way to get all the babes you know to the beach on a budget and I like a music video with a eye on saving me a little cash.

3. There's a shot where the camera tracks off of mustard being squirted on a hot dog sort of in z-space (2:15) onto thonged girls dancing. Besides summertime condiments being underrepresented in the music video sphere, I appreciate the North by Northwest like train-through-a-tunnel symbolism. There's information in the shot that the song merely hints at. Let me see that thong. OK. But why? Why do you want to see it? What then? This shot tells us. Picnics on the beach! True Love! Baseball games! A partner with the ketchup to go with my mustard, you know?! Very nice.

4. The narrative opening features a kid essentially asking an age old question about the birds and the bees. Who knew that the subject of "The Thong Song" is a curious 10-year-old girl?!  The song starts because this little girl interrupts Sisqó's phone call, holding up a thong and asking, "What's this?"  And instead of some boring old dad talk about how red lace thongs are natural, this dad of the hour comes up with a pretty catchy song that pleasantly demands, "Let me see that thong." Instead of yelling at her or the careless Mom figure in the background strewing her dirty undergarments all about the house. I mean, can you imagine what 2000 would have been like if Sisqó would have  simply snatched that dirty thing from the girl with no explanation what so ever? My friends and I would have ONLY been listening to "Say My Name" with the top down on our Jeep instead of a healthy toggling between these two songs and, sorry Beyonce, that would have got boooooring*. 

In conclusion: Thanks Sisqó. What a nice guy. What a fun dad. And you're right! Kids are people too. Call me a romantic, but I too firmly believe that kids everywhere should be given a poppy summertime jam they can dance to in response to the hard hitting questions in life.

*Here are the spoken commandments in between tracks on Destiny Child's "The Writing's On the Wall" for you to write down on the front of your notebooks:
Thou Shall Not Hate.
Thou Shall Pay Bills.
Thou Shall Confess.
Thou Shall Not Bug.
Thou Shall Not Give Into Temptation.
Thou Shall Not Think You Got It Like That.
Thou Shall Not Leave Me Wondering.
Thou Shall Know When He’s Got To Go.
Thou Shall Move On To The Next.
Thou Shall Get Your Party On.
Thou Shall Say My Name.
Thou Shall Know She Can’t Love You.
If Thou Can Wait, Then Thou Shall Stay.
Thou Shall Cherish Life.
I really hope at least one person got these tattooed on their back on a stone tablet because unlike Moses', these seem doable even though there's more than ten to keep track of...but let's be honest, "Thou Shall Not Think You Got It Like That" can go because it's too open ended, and you know what happens with open ended religious stuff, for one, fur hats in the summer.
 




Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Made A Website! Finally!

larajeangallagher.com


Well, I didn't really make it. My friend Jonah did. And he's just the best. This is him.

Another thing I did recently though was buy one of his super fancy cutting boards for my friends who got married.
LOOK AT THE LOOKS OF THIS CUTTING BOARD: 

I don't even think they said thank you. Marrieds. 

I'd never seen such a nice cutting board before let alone cut something even remotely nice on something nice. The only other nice-ish cutting board I ever bought was to use as the floor of the kitchen in this little animation I did once. For some reason I could rationalize the $20 bamboo cutting board from Bed Bath & Beyond if it was actually supposed to be flooring (the "Beyond" they speak of? It seems so). I don't know what happened to it after that.

LOOK AT THE LOOKS OF THIS CUTTING BOARD FLOOR: 
Hollerings: 3 Stories in Wood. You can watch and read about it here if you want.

Today I cut something on a plate. It was fine. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

I started paying back my student loans.

It turns out that even though I'm still technically a full-time student, there's a time limit to how long I can use the excuse of still paying an exorbitant amount in tuition each semester for having to actually start paying back that exorbitant amount of tuition each semester. Whatever. The interesting part of all of this is that my Sallie Mae representative was on American Idol last year.

He was recruited via Youtube to the chagrin of the plebs who had to audition all nerve wracking and normal. He was sent to Hollywood and everything. I guess he lost, but had a nice time nonetheless, and got to tour some TV studios and stuff. He has a gig this weekend and doesn't mind working at Sallie Mae too much even though he doesn't get any special discounts on his loans (I asked).

But really, the MOST interesting part of this whole thing is that while he was typing away and bringing my account up to date (Sallie Mae had neglected to tell me that I had overextended my student status and had a delinquent account -- they clearly could use a few more Youtube sensations on the horns) he agreed to keep me posted on his musical progress and promised that if he did in fact make it big and is able to pay off his student loans...that he'd also pay off mine. ♥♥♥

Sidebar: Have you guys seen Shopgirl?! It's not good, but I think about it ALL OF THE TIME. I mean, I know jobs at gloves stands are hard to get no matter how many degrees you have, but STILL! Student Loan Fantasy Porn?! Yes, please.

I told my Sallie Mae representative that this was a good deal because if he DID actually make it big and if he DID actually pay off my student loans too, I'd definitely be able to make a film about the whole thing and make it big myself (well, on the independent film circuit), which would then consequently push him towards a more sustainable career in the music industry. I mean, when all the Jason Mraz-crooner-type loving ladies in the middle west see the movie and get to know the man behind the music, and I mean, like, really get to know him, they'll start demanding lunchboxes and t-shirts and stuff to go along with their illegally downloaded copies of his album and the world would be his oyster. He liked this idea. ♥♥

It's important to note that this is the same guy who just twenty minutes prior said that Sallie Mae didn't really offer any plans or options after the 48 months of student status deferment had passed... I mean, time will tell, but this one seems just about air tight. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Needless to say, I'm feeling optimistic about the future and Sallie Mae's continued interest in helping me to achieve my full potential. This is certainly unexpected and totally worth the 12 minute hold time and new monthly payment. ♥♥♥♥

I'd never heard this Bruno Mars song for real, but it seems sort of serendipitous. I think I will use it in the credit sequence to the aforementioned, currently unproduced movie. It will be called: American. Idol. Or maybe: American Idle. We'll see.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I left my cat in Brooklyn.

I wish I could send him a love letter, but I don't think my sub-letter would understand.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I made a flipbook.


The best flipbooks work like movies, so I made a movie first and then printed out each frame.
But jeez, that's not all.  There are a lot of things that I did that lead to me making this weird little book/movie of me stuffing a cupcake in my face. And since this is a blog that champions list-making, I'll make a list:

1. I drove with my friend Julia to Purchase, NY to see the Dana Schutz retrospective at the Neuberger Gallery.
         
This seemingly simple trip upstate needs a list too. Here goes:
  • Two years ago, I put an ad on Craigslist to sell my record player.
  • I began corresponding a man named Adam Katz (a name a cat lover could never forget).
  • I remembered that a couple years before, a mutual friend in LA had tried to make us become friends when he and his girlfriend Julia were moving to NYC at the same time as me. We never made it happen. I thought this was a good example of the internet being a small world after all and Adam agreed.
  •  Adam made vague plans to come and check out the record player. I lied and told him that there was a lot of interest in the record player and he should probably hurry up about it. They did.
  • I became good and fast friends with Adam and Julia.
  • I said yes to practically everything Julia ever asked me to do because she is the greatest. This list would include things like agreeing to go to a stranger's wedding in Montreal by myself while she worked taking pictures at it, sardines in pasta, drugs this one time, getting up before dawn to go to the TODAY show and making an old lady from Wisconsin hold a nonsensical sign up with me, etc.                                            
  • I audited a class at Columbia called "Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists?"
    • Even though I was a mere auditor, I said I'd do an oral presentation on a female artist currently showing in or around NYC. I did a little research and I decided to do Dana Schutz because her painting is so funny (and an excuse to go upstate is always welcome) and I think that maybe a potential answer to the annoying question masquerading as the title of the course is because there aren't that many painters in general who are funny so certainly not many female painters who are funny...which is kind of the same thing as great if you ask me. I mean, look at this one:
    It's called "Swimming, Smoking, Crying" and is just so funny and sad, and also provides a good method for quitting one vice...adding two more! 

    Another one I particularly like is "Girl with Guitar":
    When you look at this one, you might think, "Wow. How did she get the black hole over the heart of the girl playing the guitar to be so so gaping and void of anything? Does Dana Shutz know the girls that play guitar that I know?!" Well here's the secret that viewing this piece on the internet won't provide: That hole? It's actually a hole cut into the canvas with black velvet a view inches behind it! Hello nothingness! Genius! Or, I guess, as "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" taught me: there are no geniuses, just talented, driven people people who have been given opportunities...but anyway.

    2. Ok! AT the gallery, we saw a weird little exhibit featuring all of these birthday cards that artists had given to the gallery's namesake, Roy Neuberger. Julia and I just thought that this was great and a good way to get people to send you things and make things in your honor. So last year, Julia put a call out to her friends and artists to make her a birthday card. And a lot of people did! 
    See some of them here!

    3. It took me another year! But yes, my flipbook is a birthday card for Julia. See:
    This is sort of what it looks like, except, you know, a book: 


    But I'm not done with the list. Here's the nuts and bolts part: 
    • I made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
    • I video taped myself devouring cupcake after cupcake, trying to do it faster, better.
    • I ate four, which wasn't even fun because I was eating them basically all in one gulp to try and save on paper later.
    • I edited the movie down, exported all 381 frames as an image sequence and printed out all 127 pages.
    • I tried to use one of those guillotines to cut the frames out, but my order started getting confused so I cut them out one by one.
    • I ended up halving the book because it was still so stinking big even after obsessive editing. This made me think of that dumb movie with Gwyneth Paltrow called Sliding Doors and how maybe it's not so dumb...I mean if half of the frames of your life are really only needed to move through it with a certain kind of smoothness, then the other half COULD be used to live out a completely parallel existence. If my flipbook is any indication, no one would really be able to tell. Is this what Peter Howitt was thinking? Is this why he doesn't seem to have a career anymore? Is he making flipbooks somewhere in his secondary life? 
    • I gave the second book to my other Pisces friend (they're really starting to accumulate, which is another thing). 
    • I watched a Youtube video on how to bind books with Elmer's glue.
    • I did that. 
    • I found another use for my roommate's yearbook (first use is calling the numbers in it) and weighed these things down. 
    • I wrapped them nicely.
    In 9th grade my English teacher made us give an oral report on how to do something. Everyone in the class was like, "Ohhhh noooo, but I don't know how to do anything!!" 
    I did mine on how to make toast and it was longer than anyone's. This reminds me of that. 

    I just love a list.