slubs in the city

Slub (adj): Maverick; unorthodox; independent in behavior or thought.


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slub of the week: Random Image Searchers

I really like to know about pretty much everything that goes on in the world.

That’s why I love that WordPress has an entire section devoted to detailed and minute site statistics. I check that baby every day. And let me tell you, I have learned some very interesting things about the people who stumble across slubsinthecity.

For instance, based on the image searches that lead you to click on a photo from our blog, I have learned that you all really like miniature pigs. Our top two most-visited posts were written by the amazingly talented Kathryn, a fellow slub, and both extol the numerous virtues of the miniature pig. (Check out those posts here and here.)

You also really like Tex Mex. I completely understand.

So it is you, Random Image Searchers, who have been honored with the Slub of the Week award. Congratulations! Even though you don’t like to use capitalization, punctuation, proper grammar or correct spelling when you type in your image searches, you have provided me with countless minutes of entertainment and for that I am thankful. Please accept a hearty pat on the back and a light dose of highly constructive criticism from me as your reward.

In order to highlight your more prolific life choices, I have decided to list my top 10 favorite search terms that have guided you through the rabbit hole to slubsinthecity. They are listed in no particular order (although the more I think about it, #6 is quickly becoming a personal favorite). Thank you for your incidental patronage.

[The number of people who have typed a particular term into any given search engine and have somehow landed on this blog is placed in parenthesis next to the term itself.]

1. smack the slubby (1)

I don’t know what this means, nor do I ever want to learn what it means.

2. what is slub cotton why is it everywhere (1)

According to dictionary.com, slub cotton is a loosely twisted roll of fiber prepared for spinning. Additionally, a “slub” refers to a slight irregularity in yarn produced either accidentally or purposely by knotting or twisting, or by including uneven lengths of fiber in spinning. In slubsinthecity terms, slub cotton may also describe a slubs’ clothing choice (examples of slub cotton are stretchy pants, sweatpants, sweatshirts, and flannel shirts).

And it’s not everywhere – you’re just being overdramatic.

3. cute miniature baby piglets that are real with the name bella in the back round.of the pig (2)

This is the most incredibly detailed search slubsinthecity has yet to see. It also sort of hurts my eyes. I can only assume that the same individual used it twice; otherwise, it is truly freakish that two separate people typed this exact term into a search engine and somehow both stumbled upon this blog.

4. pig in red rain boots not blurry (2)

I’m incredibly sorry that you’re both having such a hard time finding a high-resolution picture of a pig in red rain boots. I sympathize with how frustrating it can be to locate the image that you want in the vast ocean that represents internet photography, and I sincerely hope whichever picture you finally discovered was much more satisfactory than previous blurry photos of pigs in red rain boots. Find peace my friends.

5. tiny racing pigs with coats (2)

The three most important questions here are: can tiny pigs actually race against each other, or are their tiny legs incapable of such competition? Also, would racing in a coat prove too cumbersome and impede your chances of winning the tiny pig race? And finally, did you mean to suggest that we are all simply tiny racing pigs with coats in this grand illusion called life, or were you two really just hoping to find an image of swine scurrying around in unnecessary clothing?

6. moroccan tagine exploded (2)

I really hope that your Moroccan tagine didn’t actually explode. That would be heartbreaking.

7. mex-tex food (2)

…so close. Please improve your comprehension of fine cuisine and come back later.

8. minicher pigs (3); also minicher pig (6)

It makes me sad to know that 9 people in this world misspell the word “miniature”. I apologize, but you are no longer allowed to visit this blog.

9. sexy piglet (4); also mini pig sexy (4)

No guys. Just no.

10. bacon pig in rain boots (5)

What does a bacon pig in rain boots look like? My assumption is that once a pig becomes bacon, it no longer has feet and thus has no need for boots.

UPDATE: I typed “bacon pig in rain boots” into google. This is the first image that popped up:

oh em gee. pig in boots. [image credit: here.]

That is not yet bacon. That is a picture of what is still very much a pig wearing absolutely adorable green rain boots.

Nevertheless, congratulations again, Random Image Searchers, on being named the Slub of the Week. You guys are weird.

con amor,

shan

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slub of the week: The Hunger Games

In the 282 days since graduating from St. Olaf, I have started and then abandoned approximately a bazillion books.

Fortunately, amidst the graveyard of discarded books in my room are 2 that I actually have read. One of those books was the final installment in the Harry Potter series, because of the corresponding film’s release this past July. As fellow slub Kathryn points out in her truly lovely ode to all things Potter, it isn’t hard to completely devour J.K. Rowling’s imaginative series so I’m afraid reading The Deathly Hallows may not count as having accomplished much in the way of literary consumption.

Then again, you could say the exact same thing about the only other book I’ve managed to fully read since graduation: The Hunger Games. For a while, without any good reason, I resisted the craze. Multiple friends had recommended that I read the series some time ago, but I was too lazy to go to the library. Plus, the waiting list for the books is truly astronomical.

Then, Kat and Anna had a viable conniption over the series in early February.

[PLEASE NOTE: I have made every attempt to keep this review as high-level as possible. Don’t expect me to drop any spoilers.]

[image credit: here.]

They absolutely sped through all three stories and undoubtedly sacrificed sleep and their social lives to read every last page in a matter of days. They raved about the series and then went on to rave about the impending movie production of the first book, coming out on March 23rd. They adamantly claim that they will be attending the midnight showing dressed as tracker jackers. I give in to bandwagon syndrome more easily than perhaps I should, so having been directly surrounded by such enthusiasm for the phenomenon I decided to crack open the first book a few days ago.

I think I read the entirety of The Hunger Games in two nights, pausing only to do normal human things like go to work and sometimes eat and perhaps even maintain one or two vital relationships.

What is it about this series that’s so instantaneously appealing to the masses?

I’ve often wondered what the critically elusive formula is to creating a written sensation. What makes an idea like Harry Potter catch fire? Why in the world is Twilight so damn popular? How have certain classical works withstood the test of time, with novels like Pride and Prejudice and To Kill a Mockingbird and One Hundred Years of Solitude appearing again and again on Top 100 lists? What makes Suzanne Collins’ story about one girl’s bid for survival so engrossing to read?

Perhaps it’s because Collins’ fictional world of Panem — ruled with a heavy hand by a central dictatorial government — is so well conceptualized in the first book of the series, titled The Hunger Games (the name by which the series in general is also known). The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, the political and social landscape of which looks in many ways different from our nation today. In reality, the United States is basically a strange experiment in the longevity of the democratic dream. Though I am proud for so many reasons to be an American, it is important to realize that democracy is neither an iron rule nor an immortal organism; the structure of our current political system doesn’t guarantee that the United States will not one day slide into the depths of a dictatorship. Collins explores this idea with creepy imagination, and I believe that her dual conversation on the nature of government control, and the ever-present will of the individual to thrive under repressive circumstances, is made all the more poignant by situating her books in the very real Appalachian region of North America.

[image credit: here].

Maybe The Hunger Games is so addicting because it’s hard for the reader to predict exactly what will happen next. Sure, some of the concepts in the novels are relatively recycled. The love triangle between Katniss, the main heroine, and Peeta and Gale, her two love interests, is a bit overdone. Who will she pick – the brooding and impassioned handsome rebel, or her steadfast and brave partner in the Games? While the answer isn’t revealed until the third installment, and the romance itself is a guilty pleasure to read, for me it’s neither the focal point nor the redeeming plotline of the book. What’s more, the very concept of the Games itself sounds a bit like The Lord of the Flies…although I must admit that I’ve never read that novel before.

OH THE ANGST OF IT ALL. [image credit: here.]

Collins’s virtue as a writer lies is in her ability to reiterate on older storylines and make them her own. I found myself skipping ahead whole sentences while reading the first book because I was dying to know the results of the Hunger Games themselves, a bloody and psychologically twisted fight to the death that is also the highlight of entertainment in Panem’s richest city and government headquarters, the Capitol. Though the concept brings to mind gladiator fights from Roman times, Collins relies on modern technology and her own projections of the future of American culture to reconceptualize the main event. And while the notion of rebellion against a dictatorial government seems to ring a fairly classic tune, for the most part Collins’s use of the Games as a unique metaphor for complete social and mental control supplies just enough surprises to keep the reader guessing. After all, we’ve never seen the Hunger Games themselves in any other book – so Collins has a monopoly on that particularly imaginative concept.

you know, just bein a bamf, nbd. [image credit: here.]

For real though, all attempt at reviewing aside: it’s just a really fun read.

It is with great pleasure that the slubs present the Slub of the Week award to The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins, accept this honor with great pride. It may not be a Nobel Prize for Literature or a Pulitzer, but really it’s the next best thing.

So, dear readers, tell us: What is your opinion of The Hunger Games hysteria?

Before you run off to read the book yourselves (that is, if you haven’t already…and if that’s the case you seriously need to get with the program), here is the trailer for the much-anticipated movie:

con amor,

shan


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slub of the week: Ahmad Bradshaw

You may be shocked to hear this, but the slubs watched the Super Bowl yesterday . And not just the commercials or the halftime show. We watched the game as well. And gave up watching Downton Abbey to do so.

It was quite the event. Here are the delicious foods that were served: oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies, s’mores cupcakes, lemon teacakes, potstickers, hummus, baked brie, and queso. Possibly not  your typical Super Bowl fare, but it was a delicious, slubby feast.

Now, while some of us are football fans, none of us were really invested in the game. Nonetheless, we chose sides. Obviously. Shannon, claiming that she was supporting America, rooted for the Patriots, along with Anna and our friend Maddie. Nora and I, in our infinite wisdom, chose the winning team, the Giants.

We cheered loudly and often for our respective teams. There was even some smack talk going down. I mean really. Supporting the Patriots? Come. on. Nora and I were called anti-American. Vicious. But there was one thing we all agreed on: Ahmad Bradshaw’s winning touchdown was nothing short of EPIC.

Now, after listening to commentary after the game, Bradshaw had not meant to score on this play. Instead his intent was to run the clock down so that the Patriot’s offense would have as little time with the ball as possible. On the otherhand, according the Huffington Post, the Patriots wanted to “concede a score” so that they would have as much time with the ball as possible. He accidentally scores when the Patriots do nothing to stop him.

But for the untrained eyes of the slubs and friends, it went down like this:

Bradshaw has the ball. He runs. He makes a split second decision to make the slubbiest touchdown of all time. Bradshaw scores the winning touchdown by sitting into the endzone.

I mean, why exert the energy, Bradshaw? You are on the goal line. The Patriots seem completely unconcerned about you scoring. Let your momentum carry you gracefully into a seated position in the endzone. Standing: not Superbowl champion. Seated: Superbowl champion. WIN.

So, to the Superbowl Champions, Ahmad Bradshaw and Giants, congratulations. Congrats for winning a sporting event by acting like a slub. Pretend like you meant to do it. It was truly epic.

slub love, Kat


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slub of the week: Minnesota

For those of you who live in the lovely state of Minnesota, I’m sure you’ve noticed something strange lately: the weather. (Don’t live in Minnesota? Recap: it is unseasonably warm. Read: mid-30s, very little snow).

Now for those of you who don’t know, we Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. For other places in the country weather is an awkward small-talk conversation, in Minnesota weather is good conversation. When it is bad, i.e -40 degree windchills or 123 degree heat indexes, or when it is good, mid-70s and sunny, we have to talk about it. Because it is probably an anomaly (not really).

But, I’m sorry, Minnesota, I’m calling you out. You are being downright slubby. Too lazy to snow. Too lazy to dip into negative temperatures. Minnesota, you have put your stretchy pants on and curled up on the couch watching 30 Rock re-runs. And I applaud you.

Whereas in other Januaries I have had to cover every piece of skin and blow-dry my hair so it won’t freeze on the walk to my car, today I left the house with wet hair and wearing a fleece. It is January 4th. And I felt fantastic.

In honor of Minnesota’s slubbiness, here are some wonderful slubby winter weather facts (kudos yet again to wikipedia):

1. International Falls, MN average ANNUAL temperature is 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Coldest in the nation. The ten coldest counties in the nation? Also all located in Minnesota.

2. Lowest temperature recorded: -65 degrees in Embarrass, MN in 1996.

3. Earliest recorded snow: August 31, 1949 in Duluth.

4. Latest recorded snow: June 4, 1935. Yes, that’s right, MN has had snow every month but July, our warmest month. Yes. I know. Mind. Boggling.

5. A New York journalist vising St. Paul described Minnesota, “Another Siberia, unfit for human habitation.” The quote spurred the beginning of the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

St. Paul Winter Carnival snow sculptures

Here’s to you Minnesota! You’ve worked hard the past few years providing us with more snow than we could ever want and the coldest weather in the nation. So this year, please be slubby all you want. Don’t snow. Stay in the mid-30s. My boots and winter coat need a break. Grab yourself some chocolate-hazelnut-raspberry baked goods, a netflix account, yoga pants, and a comfy arm chair. Settle down and store up all those great slubby feelings so you can give us a beautiful spring. Minnesota, I love you. I love your slubbiness.

Kat (my office may be freezing, but Minneapolis is a balmy 36 degrees!)


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slub of the week: just try to resist hyperbole and a half.

When the five of us slubs decided that we’d write a blog about our year in service, I imagine we all thought it would be a magnificent work of literary genius. We probably envisioned that we’d write posts with admirable frequency, and that we’d have enlightening or witty or creative or compelling or hilarious things to say.

As you can see, our expectations appear to have landed a bit short of reality.

What does a blogger do when she falls – correction, recklessly dives – into a bought of writer’s block? Why, repost other bloggers’ work, of course.

To that end, we slubs are incredibly delighted to present to you all:

HYPERBOLE AND A HALF.

                               simple dog is simple.

Allie Brosh is straight up the funniest and most creative blogger I have ever read. While that’s not saying much (I don’t follow any other blogs but hers), I’ve got thousands and thousands of internet fans to back up my statement. People are completely enamored with this woman.

You’ll quickly see why.

If you read “Texas” or “Dogs don’t understand simple concepts, like moving” and don’t absolutely pee your pants, you are dead to me.

con amor,

shan

slub of the week: Cannon River Winery

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Our slub love for a good bottle of wine knows no bounds.

My personal appreciation of wine has taken a little while to mature. It’s an acquired taste for some and certainly was for me. The first time I tasted a red wine, I was sure something had gone terribly, terribly wrong for someone to have wanted to do that to a grape. The first time I had a heaping plate of pasta and a nice, cool glass of Pinot Grigio, though, was an entirely different story. This is why wine has been around for roughly 10,000 years (according to my bestie Wikipedia, wine is estimated to have been first produced around 8,000 BC): a good glass of wine is incredibly appealing to experience.

A slub fav.

Yesterday, the slub house – which is now complete because NORA MOVED IN – and friends, aka Maddie Hansen and Kirsten Petersen, shared their immense appreciation for all things vino by volunteering to harvest grapes at the Cannon River Winery vineyard in Cannon Falls, MN. We had a wonderful, slubby time. The sun was out, blocked occasionally by the few wispy clouds that floated across the blue sky. It was a warm day, in the mid-80s, but a light breeze helped cool us down as we wandered through the rows of vines and harvested bunches of green and red grapes. The conversation amongst the volunteers was amiable. The grapes were ripe and sweet, and we sampled as we picked (which was definitely allowed). The clusters were easy to cut, although some grew around the wire that supported the vines in impossible ways.

Obviously this is not us. These people are beautiful and fashionable. In reality, the slubs looked very slubby whilst grape picking

We harvested three types of grapes – Prairie Star, Somerset (a table grape), and a new, experimental grape that has yet to be tested as a wine: Shannon. I kid you not. The grape was called Shannon, and I am going to fervently lobby for the wine to be called Shannon as well. The vineyard owner referred to Shannon as a “unique, special, flavorful grape”. I can only assume he meant to compliment me personally.

Having my own grape is reason enough to honor Cannon River Winery with the Slub of the Week award, but of course, there’s the little matter of the wine itself.

After grape harvesting we went to the Winery to purchase a couple bottles of wine for ourselves. Fortunately, the slubs have already had the distinct pleasure of tasting Cannon River Winery’s selection: in May, before graduation, we spent a day during Senior Week at the Winery tasting, learning, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We were given a rundown of the history of the Winery and allowed to smell a barrel of wine that was in production. The vintner himself (who is adorable and named one of the wines after his mother) explained to us the process of creating a new wine, including adding a certain amount of sugar to taste. He let us try a Riesling that was absolutely perfect, and when he mentioned that he might sweeten it a bit we all unanimously protested against it. After having ranked my wines from most to least enjoyable, and thoroughly cataloging my description of each wine on the provided menu, I purchased one bottle that day (the Graciela, which comes highly recommended by the slubs). Yesterday I made off with a Sogn Blanc and a Sogn Blush, both of which were a big hit at the tasting. Rest assured: the next few weeks of dinner at the slub house will be thoroughly palatable and classy events.

Inside the Winery

Outside the Cannon Rivery Winery, almost too cute to handle

So here’s to you, Cannon River Winery, for being the most enjoyable slub hub of the week. Your vineyard is idyllic and makes me proud to be Minnesotan. Your wine is beautiful – you’ve even converted me to your Mill Street Red, a feat which clearly deserves some sort of trophy of accomplishment. Always know that you have a very dear and special place in the slubs’ hearts.

For important information on visiting this honorary slub location yourself, go to: http://cannonriverwinery.com/

con amor,

shan


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Slub of the week: Miniature Pig

Straight Slubbin’ (Shannon and I got to pet a baby piglet, who was less than a day old, at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. It was possibly the most adorable creature I had ever seen. So small, so pink, so fuzzy!)

A never-ending conversation in our house is about what kind of pet we should/could buy (although in reality, we really shouldn’t get a pet). The options have varied from wiener dogs to ducks to chickens to goats. After our fair excursion, we decided a pig, most likely miniature to better suit our apartment, would be an excellent option. And what slubby creatures pigs are.

Great Slubby Pig Facts (thanks to our friends at wikipedia)

1. Pigs use their snouts to forage for food in the ground. All slubs know how to obtain food quickly and efficiently, and are not ashamed to use any means to do so.

2. Pigs are extremely intelligent. So are slubs.

3. Pigs can be trained to perform tricks. Slubs have been known to perform such illusions as making entire cakes disappear.

4. (We choose to ignore the fact that pigs have been used to keep restrooms clean by, well, you know…)

5. Pigs can graze at pasture, like sheep or cattle, which reduces their environmental impact by decreasing grain inputs. Slubs love the environment.

6. Pigs are very social animals, often snuggling with their other pig friends while resting. Slubs cuddle. In their stretchy pants.

7. Apparently pigs sleep all the time. Sometimes they forage for food. Slubs want.

So here’s to you, miniature pig, for being cute, for sleeping and eating all you want, for being intelligent, for rocking the curly tails, and for being the slubbiest creature this week!

-Kat