Things People Do

A cousin to an older Painfully Good post, I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies) is an up-close-and-personal film project about baseline jumping (!@!>@$?>??) by filmmaker Sebastien Montaz-Rosset. chenkx just posted this on Facebook and I had to share – watch for the thrill as he takes you high up up up then straight over the cliff as you pause just long enough to touch your toes to the rope, and then, you drop down. My palms were sweating after the first minute.

See the longer segment of the film here, where a man tries to describe the freedom he feels when walking a highline with no leash.

For Castellers, “painfully good” is an understatement. These Catalonians have been playing human jenga for centuries, starting with the strongest of men at the base and the lightest — and oftentimes youngest — fearless at the top. Forget Running with the Bulls — the intricacy and teamwork required to pull this stunt off is mind blowing. I found myself gasping each time…well, you just watch and be awed for yourself.

For more information about the art of Castel, visit:

In honor of the upcoming Tour de Cluck here in Davis I thought I would post one of my favorite recipes that uses eggs. I have a small backyard flock, 3 hens, and they each lay about an egg a day. 21 eggs a week! For someone who doesn’t like eggs for breakfast, that is a LOT of eggs. I do love to bake, however. Searching for recipes that use a lot of eggs led me to my trusty “American Woman’s Cookbook” published in 1948. The American Woman's CookbookEvery home needs a comprehensive cookbook like this. Other similar cookbooks would include The Joy of Cooking or the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. The many chapters of arcane food information include:  “Useful Facts about Food”, “Soup Accessories” “Entrees and Made-Over Dishes” and “Cookies, Gingerbreads, and Small Cakes”, where I found the recipe for cream puffs.

These are not the cream puffs you can get at Costco, frozen and filled with some unidentified white, sweet filling.

These are substantial, puffy and light all at the same time. I like them as a base for savory or sweet fillings. To me they are equally good with a slice of cheese and a bit of meat, or drizzled w/ honey, or split and filled with freshly whipped cream.

I double the recipe, which uses 8 eggs. To start I get all the ingredients together, which is a cooking term called, “mise en place”

Ingredients: 2 sticks of butter, 2 cups sifted flour, 2 cups boiling water, and 8 eggs.

sifted flour

eggs and butter

So to make Cream Puffs:

  1. Boil water and butter together.
  2. When that is boiling, turn off the heat and dump the flour in all at once.
  3. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture will quickly form into a ball, with a texture similar to Play-Doh.
  4. Still beating, add one egg at a time. Do not add the next egg until the previous one is fully incorporated into the batter.
  5. The batter will be glossy and stiff when you are done.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls or tablespoonfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet. The size just depends on how big you want the final puff to be. For deserts I suggest the smaller, but if you are using as sandwich rolls make them bigger.
  7. Cook at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and cook 20 minutes more.
  8. Enjoy!

`boil water and butter together

after flour and 4 eggs

Speaking of Painfully Good, last fall I took a trip up to Nevada City to experience Dorothy Truth”s one woman show, Death as a Salesman. Dorothy is the mysterious twin sister of Nevada City painter Douglass Truth. (Douglass’ fantastic paintings are also Painfully Good, but that will be the subject of another post…)

This absurdly hilarious show combines humor and gender bending with the serious topic of Death and how to make your inevitable encounter w/ the big guy (a.k.a. Todd) more bearable.

Dorothy tells the story of her beginnings as an invisible child struggling for cookies and a nesting area  in the Truth household and how she eventually gets hired as a Public Relations manager for the New Death Incorporated.

Truth’s play is, in effect, a traveling infomercial for The New Death, designed to both test new marketing strategies and to educate consumers.

Readers on both sides of the Bay will have a chance to experience Death as a Salesman themselves. I strongly urge you to do so if you can. In Oakland, Dorothy will be performing at the Humanist Hall in downtown Oakland, at 7:30 on Saturday February 20, 2010.

On the other side of the bridge there will be  two shows at the Jellyfish Gallery at 1286 Folsom St., in San Francisco, Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13 at 8pm.

Dorothy singing

Dorothy Singing

This music video by Brooklyn based rapper Nyle truly marries the magic of visuals and audio. Filmed in one single take, audio recorded during filming, the music appears as you hear it, reaching your eyes at the same time it reaches your ears and reinforcing the title of the song. The video is quite good but the painfully good part to me is reading Nyle’s Vimeo bio about how he’s set to accomplish so much while so young. Enjoy!

Nyle “Let The Beat Build” from Nyle on Vimeo. Produced by Last-Pictures


Ew bugs? Not these ones. Caddisfies, also known as sedge-flies or rail flies, are small pond and stream insects closely related to moths and butterflies. The caddisflies begin as aquatic larvae that uniquely make protective casings of silk, initially sticky, and decorate their developing bodies with twigs, gravel, sand, and other small fragments. In nature one would find a caddisfly larvae and its casing like this:




Frank Greenaway c. Dorling Kindersley

Frank Greenaway c. Dorling Kindersley

French artist Hubert Duprat has been collaborating with the larvae since early 1980. Familiar with the ways of the caddis larvae since childhood, an artistic idea dawned upon him while watching men panning for gold a stream in Southwestern France. Duprat carefully catches the larvae from their natural habitat and relocates them to his studio where he removes their natural sheath and places them in a tank filled with materials from which they can recreate their casing. The materials include gold, opal, pearls, rubies, stones precious and semi-precious. The result is as follows:

Cabinet Magazine Org.

Cabinet Magazine Org.

Cabinet Magazine Org., Hubert Duprat

Cabinet Magazine Org., Hubert Duprat

Who knew insects could be art? Check out a video of Duprat’s larvae in action here . Read up on Duprat’s work on Cabinet Magazine Online here.