Aby-a-Day – 18 Maj: Marlin’s back! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Yesterday, Iris sent NEMO club members a draft of the flyer for our first post-Covid in-person show. It’s only open to exhibitors, and masks will be required unless eating or drinking. When I saw it, I knew what I had to do.

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So here is the new, improved, mask-wearing Marlin doing his BBQ thing.

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Here’s how it looks on the flyer itself. Not bad, eh?

Aby-a-Day – 8 Januari: Remembering Jacoby’s last CFA show (Friday Flashback)

Four years ago, Björn, Jacoby and I were at our first (and Jake’s only) CFA show in Region 9 (Europe). There in only one CFA show in Sweden annually, and it’s inconveniently located and so close to the beloved Örebro show, so we only entered it the one time.

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It was fun, though, and Jake really enjoyed himself. He always preferred CFA’s format to FIFe’s. And, entered in the show, were three Abyssinians descended from Instincts cats.

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It was fun to see old friends again. Pam DeLaBar, a CFA judge, is also another American expat living in Finland.

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There was also a lot of snow. When Jake started getting bored, we went out and played in it.

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This show was also the only show where Jake finalled in every ring. There were only nineteen cats entered in Premiership, and, interestingly, they were almost all older than five years. It was a fun time…even though the rosettes were printed on cardboard.

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We went outside again on Sunday to play in the snow. This time, I didn’t bother to put Jake on his leash. He went on a bit of a walkabout before I was able to catch him!

I’ll share more photos from that show weekend tomorrow and Sunday.

Aby-a-Day – 6 December 2020: International Top Cat Challenge (Cat Show Sunday)

I finally got around to entering the CFA International Top Cat Challenge finale. After the results of the last show, I was a bit hesitant, but ah, what the hell?

So I entered Izaak,

and Lorelai in the Championship class,

and Dashiell in the Premiership class, using the regular photos.

The entry fees were $10 each, with the fourth entry being free. So, I entered Angel in the Household Pet class.

But the main reason I entered this show was for the “Haute Cat-ture” fun class. Cats…posing in costumes? Um, yes please! I entered Jacoby in four different outfits: His Red Sox uniform…

…His Don Draper suit…

…His super posey snow photoshoot wearing his knit cap and his boots…

…and of course, Jake’s fabulous Thanksgiving outfit! Wish me luck!

Aby-a-Day – 25 Oktober 2020: Paws Across the Sea (Cat Show Sunday)

Remember the artwork I did for a Region 1/Region 9 virtual CFA show? Well, entries are closing today!

I entered Izaak and Lorelai in Championship…even though they aren’t registered in CFA, as long as they are registered in any organisation, they’re eligible to be shown.

I know I use these photos from Örebro a lot, but they are just so wonderful. It’s going to be interesting; whilst Zak is the only Singapura entered (so far), there are three Championship blue Aby girls entered!

Dashiell is entered in Premiership. I wish I had more professional shots of him, but at least we have the photos from the ferry! Although, had I known virtual shows would become a thing, I would have taken his collar off.

Entries were $10 USD each, but the fourth entry was free, so I went ahead and entered Angel as a HHP. The cats will all be examined by CFA judges, just like a real show, and there will be top ten finals. But there is also a Spectators’ Choice element, and people can vote for their favourite cats. To vote for any of our cats, click on their photograph and their gallery page will open in a new window. Votes cost $1 USD each, and you can purchase multiple votes for each at one time, but can only make one transaction per cat per day. Funds raised will go to support both regions. For more information, go to the show’s home page.

Aby-a-Day – 6 Oktober 2020: Paws Across the Sea (Cartoon Tuesday)

I know, I know…I dropped off the face of the world for a week. Part of that was due to me getting a new medication that was kicking my butt until I got used to it. The other part is that last Monday I got this email from Iris:

Your former region (Region 1) and your adopted region (Region 9) are joining forces for a virtual qualifier show for the CFA International Top Cat Challenge, and Sharon asked me to help with promotional copy and/or a theme. What I came up with is really crying out for some kind of sketch that we can use on the flyer and platform. It’s “Paws Across the Sea.” I don’t have any visual ideas other than two paws reaching toward each other with an ocean in between, but I thought maybe you could come up with something better. Please let me know if you’d be willing to work on this. The time frame is short but not an emergency. . . If you could do something by the weekend I think that would work.

My mind instantly went to vintage Disney “It’s a Small World” art. I made a globe/earth that featured the US Northeast and Europe and then made the quick sketch above to map out the international breed representatives. I had many ideas, but finally decided on featuring a Siamese, a Russian Blue, a Maine Coon (Marlin, the NEMO mascot), a Scottish Fold, and a Singapura. I had wanted to include a Japanese Bobtail, but I realised that if you couldn’t see the tail, it might not be clear what breed it was.

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I started by making a generic cat sketch. I enlarged it for Marlin, made it smaller for the Singapura, and stretched it out for the Siamese.

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I made sketches for all five breeds, and combined them on one layer.

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Then I did the ink outline in Procreate.

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I did the undercolour layer beneath the ink layer in Procreate as well. Colouring tortoiseshell-and-white cats is difficult, but fun!

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My best fur brushes are in Photoshop, so I moved to that to work on the texture layer.

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Here are all three layers combined.

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Then I add the whiskers, eyeshine and shadow, and voilá: a graphic for an international virtual cat show!

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A slight postscript: I couldn’t fit an Abyssinian into the graphic…but who’s that holding the Siamese’s other paw?

Aby-a-Day – 13 September 2020: Nemo’s Virtual Cat Show (Cat Show Sunday)

Today was the New England Meow Unit‘s Virtual Cat Show. I entered everyone, including Alfred, Angel (as a Household Pet), and Logan (in the Rainbow Bridge class). Because it was the Nemo show, of course there was a costume contest, and I entered a few different outfits…and finally won with our Marilyn Monroe and JakeFK costumes. Okay, it was Third Place, but still.

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Meg and Drooley got 4th Place as the Unknown Comic and his cat!

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Jacoby placed 7th in the Rainbow Bridge class.

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And now for the actual judging classes. Izaak was 15th Best Cat in Championship in Teresa Sweeney’s “ring.” You know, this is actually my first CFA final with a Championship cat! All my other show cats were Premiers.

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Speaking of Premiers…Dashiell did the best of everyone, placing 6th Best in Premiership in Allan Raymond’s ring.

You can see all the finals on Nemo’s YouTube channel. Each one is pretty long, so clear yourself some time (or fast forward through it, that works too). Oh, and it’s pretty cool that my artwork is all over this show, too.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Juli 2020: I miss cat shows (Friday Flashback)

These are photos from when Lorelai got a NOM at the very first show she was entered in.

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We had Izaak at this point, but he hadn’t gotten his SVERAK registration yet, so he couldn’t be entered. This was the only show she went to alone.

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The photos of Rory trying to nom her NOM ribbon are among my favourite photos of her.

We haven’t been able to go to a cat show since last November (thank you, global pandemic), and I really miss it. I think the cats do, too.

Aby-a-Day – 30 April 2020: A memory came up today…(Thursday Things)

This memory came up today on Facebook: Jacoby’s and my last Seacoast Cat Show in New Hampshire. It was a great show; Jake got 136 points at that show.

That show, and the one CFA show we went to in Sweden where he made every final, was enough to make him 10th Best Abyssinian in Premiership for the 2016-17 show season, on top of his 8th Best placement the season before.

I know I have some awesome cats now…but I still miss my Jakey.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari 2020: Art in garbage (Cartoon Tuesday)

At one of the cat shows we entered recently, I happened to notice a shape in one of the paper towel trashbins in the toilet. Can you see it?

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Now can you see it?

Aby-a-Day – 9 Augusti: Speaking of escape artists…(Friday Flashback)

Izaak’s escape at the show last weekend reminded me of the time Logan figured out how to open his cage at one of his first shows.

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They look so similar, Logan and Zak, but they are so very different.

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As much as I love my little Zakky…I do miss Logan’s grumpy old man meow.

Aby-a-Day – 8 Augusti: Two words you never want to hear at a cat show: “Cat out!” (Thursday Things)

Especially when it’s your cat.

Sunday at the show, after Izaak had been judged and we were waiting for the Nominations, Lorelai was called up for her Nomination at the same time. So Björn had Rory and I had Zak. Then I dropped my phone and it came out of its case. I needed two hands to put it back in, so I handed Zak over to Björn. Then Zak started to cough up a hairball.

I raced over to the Secretary’s table and grabbed a piece of scratch paper, and got Zak to puke on it. Björn was right next to us, so I asked him to grab Zak whilst I dealt with the barf. In the time between me letting him go and Björn grabbing him…

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…he decided this space under the folded-up bleachers (the show hall’s day job is a basketball arena). And he. Would not. Come. OUT. When he doesn’t want to be caught, he is a master. They announced that a cat was loose and to close all the doors, but I was like, “Yeah, no. The doors are the least of our worries!” He’s roaming around underneath the bleachers, and he’s up for Nomination like NOW

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Finally, a woman with Siamese working the Secretary’s table called to me. She saw Zak in the corner, near her stroller. They asked me if I had any food that would lure him out. I said, “No…he won’t eat anything but raw and chicken necks. Does anyone have a raw chicken neck?” Yeah, nobody did. I had grabbed Chirpy Mouse and Zak’s favourite wand toy (a fishing lure blue crab I picked up in Baltimore), so we tried those. Chirpy Mouse had no effect, but Blue Crab got his attention. I almost grabbed him…but then he backed away. He wandered around a little more, and then came back to that corner, and, with the help of Blue Crab, I was able to grab him. The judge he was up for Nomination with, Glenn Sjöbom, asked me if I was okay and patted me on the back, telling me not to worry and not feel like I needed to rush. When he actually got nominated, I held him up, and, during the applause, I said to him, “You. Do. NOT. Deserve. This!”

I repeated that when he was declared Best In Show.

I don’t have any photos of the actual events…I was too busy trying to catch the little asshole.

But here’s the punchline to the whole escapade: Just after it happened my friend Kinsey posted on Facebook that Zak’s brother, Paolo had escaped that morning and led her on a merry chase around the neighbourhood before she managed to catch him again. He wears a tracker on his collar that she can track on her mobile.

One of her friends commented that it could only happen to Kinsey, and I chimed in, “Nope, not just Kinsey. Today at the cat show, Izaak, Paolo and Keiko’s younger brother, escaped and went exploring under the bleachers!”. To which Kinsey explained, “Must be in their genes. Paolo did that at a cat show once and I was on my hands and knees under the benches trying to get him.”

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They ARE full brothers, perhaps not littermate brothers, but brothers nonetheless. Kinsey’s always posting about Paolo’s adventures…and by the smug, “sorry, not sorry” look on Zak’s face, I suspect I will be, too.

Aby-a-Day – 5 Augusti: Just another day at the cat show (Hipstamatic Monday)

I love doing Hipstamatic photos at cat shows.

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The show we did this weekend is no exception.

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From Lorelai being judged…

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…to Rory being BIV, Hipstamatic casts events in a different, interesting, light.

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I love this photo of the two of them with their rosettes.

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And this, of Rory competing for BIV against the other blue Abys in the show. Hipstamatic turns a boring photo into art.

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After a long day at the cat show, there’s still a train ride home to look forward to.

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It’s a train ride made more interesting with Hipstamatic.

Aby-a-Day – 4 Augusti: “So much winning…” (Cat Show Sunday)

On a whim, we brought the Pets Hate Toys “Donald” cat toy. Izaak actually liked having it in the cage. I think it’s the hair. It did get a lot of laughs.

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Just like yesterday, Lorelai was judged first today.

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It was funny at this show…we had the same judges as yesterday, but Rory saw Eric and Izaak saw Glenn today.

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He was as charmed by her as he was by Zak.

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I really like Eric. He’s a good judge, and fun to watch. Plus, since he’s not Swedish, he does everything in English!

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Today, there were only three blue Abys. One of the kittens was only entered on Sunday.

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But the competition was still tough. Of course, it’s not easy to choose between a mature adult, a young adult, and a kitten, but in the end…

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…Rory was, once again, Best In Variety! My friend Anna told me that if Rory keeps this up, she could be the best blue Aby in Sweden! She was also up for Nomination, but like yesterday, she wasn’t chosen for the panel.

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Then it was Izaak’s turn to be judged.

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Glenn really liked Zak, too.

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Ultimately, he decided to put Zak up for nomination today.

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Then it was time for the panel. Zak was up against TWO Bengals.

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Thea Friškovec was one of the voting judges on the Category 3 panel today (she wasn’t yesterday). Thea was the judge who NOMed Zak at the last show, where he ended up winning his first BIS. She actually sought us out yesterday to say hello to Zak (she breeds Singapuras herself).

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She’s clearly very fond of little Zak.

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And in the end…

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…Izaak got two votes and was Category 3’s Best In Show entire male!

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One thing about FIFe shows is…when you win best in show, you actually WIN stuff. You get rosettes, trophies, and medals, sure…but you also get swag. This is the line-up of prize bags for all the categories and all the classes.

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This is all the stuff that was in Zak’s swag bag.

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The “decoration light” is actually Zak’s BIS trophy. It’s pretty cool, and it’s on the window with the other cool trophies Jacoby, Rory and Zak have won.

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After the panel was over, we packed up and went home.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Augusti: There’s winning and then there’s doing pretty good (Cat Show Saturday)

We’re at a cat show in Södertälje this weekend. At the last show, I bought a little shelf for the show cage which also has a curtain to hide the litter box.

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This is the first time we’ve actually used it, and as you can see, it’s quite the hit with the ticked crowd.

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The show was in a good location (near an amazing Greek restaurant, too), and it was well-organised and set up…that’s always a plus! Lorelai was the first to be judged in the morning.

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The judge, Glenn Sjöbom, was fast, but thorough.

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I am always surprised by how calm Rory is on the table with the judge. She’s always so squirmy and active, but put her on the judge’s table, and she’s a perfect angel.

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There are four blue Aby girls in the show today. The other two are IC Abychat Whos-That-Girl and her two daughters, S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Pleasure and S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Paradise.

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Here is Whos-That-Girl with our friend Susanna.

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Because there were more than three blue Abys, we could have a Best In Variety, so we had to wait around whilst all the girls were finished judging.

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Meanwhile, in the ring next to ours, the ruddy Abyssinians were being judged by Thea Friškovec.

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I had to laugh when I saw this guy (GIC S*Aucuparia’s Mimar Sinan JW) because he reminded me so much of Jacoby sitting in the judging cage like that.

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Then it was time for the blue Aby BIV. Poor Glenn had to choose between four girls.

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First he eliminated one of the kitten sisters.

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He checked Rory’s ticking and undercoat tone.

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I had the presence of mind to switch to video for the final decision…I’m glad I did! Click on the image to see the video in another window.

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Rory seemed pretty proud of her achievement.

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And perhaps a little stunned, too. She was also up for Nomination, but lost out to a Cornish Rex.

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Next, it was Izaak’s turn to be judged.

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His judge, Eric Reijers, was quite charmed by our little Zak.

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I’m not sure who was having more fun playing, Zak or Eric.

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He tried out every toy with Zak to see which he liked best.

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(Spoiler alert: He liked ALL of them!)

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Our friends Jenny and Skilla (S*Kustens Follia d’Amore) were at the show, too! It was good to see them again.

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Skilla was having a bad day. She was cranky and hissing. Again, I was reminded of Jake.

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Zak was up against three British Shorthairs; a blue with amazing golden eyes, a brown mackerel tabby, and a young red tabby. Unfortunately, Björn was busy with Rory, and I was holding Zak, so I don’t have any photos. I was shocked when Zak got the Nomination! We almost always lose to the BSHs.

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Finally it was time for the panel. Zak didn’t like the grooming I gave him, so he did it himself.

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I really like that stewards hold the cats up during the panel. That means the owners and breeders can relax and watch.

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The competition amongst the the male cats was stiff! A Bengal, a Lilac BSH, and little Zak. The way it works is, the three judges who judged the class (in this case, Vladimir Isakov, Sirpa Lindelöf, and Eric) look at the cats who were NOMed, and vote on which they think is the best example of their breed.

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In the end, the Bengal got two votes. But Izaak got one as well! Considering the competition, that’s awesome!

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But remember the ruddy boy who reminded me of Jake? He won Best in Show in his class! Here he is with our friend Jan, his human. They both look pretty happy. I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Aby-a-Day: 2 Augusti: Boss Chonk (Photoshop Friday)

There’s a meme going around with three cats at different levels, with the highest level cat being designated “Boss Chonk.” Well, we’re going to a cat show this weekend, and I bathed Izaak and Lorelai. I also bathed Alfred, to help get him used to bathing (something I should have started doing when he was younger). Whilst bathing these three, this meme inexplicably came to mind.

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So…I made a thing.

Aby-a-Day – 10 Juni: Another way to look at the show (Hipstamatic Monday)

I keep forgetting to do Hipstamatic photos when we’re at FIFe shows. I used to take them at cat shows regularly back in New England. But they’re fun…and it’s interesting to see what Hipstamatic does…like this one. You’ve seen our show curtains, they’re shades of green. But Hipstamatic turns them into shades of red!

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I also love the randomness of it. Sometimes it really improves the photo.

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I used to take photos with the cameras Hipstamatic is meant to emulate, back when I was a kid. You would take the photo…but never know what you were going to get. It’s a kind of fun we don’t have nowadays (although I wouldn’t want to go back to film EVER).

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Sometimes it makes a good photo even better…I really like the way the focus is shifted to Izaak and his BIV trophy in this one.

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Some of the films have frames that are a lot of fun. This one flips the original photo around the edges and sort of “shatters” them. It’s a neat effect.

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Hipstamatic can make a boring photo more interesting…

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…and it can save a photo you might have kept. When Hipstamatic saves a photo, it also saves the original, “normal” version of the shot. In this photo, Zak moved his head and his face was blurred. But in the Hipstamatic version…that motion blur is not an issue.

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Some of the different films play with colour, as I mentioned before. This one only keeps red and blue and discards everything else.

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This film makes your photo look like it was printed on an old newspaper, which can be a cool effect on the right shot.

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I also like this film a lot. It makes this cute photo of Zak even cuter, somehow.

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Once, ages ago back in the States, someone asked me, “So…What’s this Hipstamatic Monday all about?” This. This is what it’s all about.

Aby-a-Day – 28 Februari: Our three seconds of Swedish fame (Thursday Things)

When we went to the Ädelkatten show in Västra Frölunda back in December there was a celebrity spectator in the show hall.

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Glenn Hysén is a retired footballer, manager and commentator who, along with his sons (also footballers) Tobias and Anton and his wife Helena, go to places around Göteborg and film their interactions for a Swedish reality show. It’s a bit like the Kardashian show, but less sleazy and more silly.

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Of course they captured typical scenes from a typical cat show…the last cat, the Cornish Rex, is our friend our friend Sully!

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They also caught my friend Peter on film as well.

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I am not entirely sure what they said, but from the video, they did a good job capturing a show.

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They even covered a final.

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Our friend Stellan, one of the top Singapura breeders in Northern Europe, was the emcee for the finals, so of course he was featured on the show.

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And so were we!

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They actually filmed us for a while, and interviewed Björn, but all we got was about three seconds.

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But hey, we were on television! In Sweden!

You can see the cat show segment here; it starts at 23:08, but you can’t fast forward though the ads (you can jump to the beginning of the third segment, but you have to watch the ads). The link will work on computers in North America, but not on phones.

Aby-a-Day – 13 Februari: Wordless Wednesday (Professional photos from Örebro)

Aby-a-Day – 31 Januari: More from Örebro (Thursday Things)

Saturday was not a great day for Lorelai and Izaak; apart from Zak earning his Champion title, neither he nor Rory were even up for a Nomination.

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But Sunday, both of their judges loved them. Here is Polish judge Robert Nowak admiring Rory.

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There were five females up at the Nominations. It was a very close competition.

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At the end, the judge chose a lovely Siamese to go to the panel.

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This is a shot from Saturday. Rory is Number 664. Number 663 is GIC DK*Saltvig’s Oona. We have been a little concerned that Rory small for her age (she’s smaller than Zak!), but Oona is over two years older than Rory and they are the same size! Oona was chosen over Rory on Saturday, but Rory was the judge’s pick on Sunday.

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Zak’s judge on Sunday was Gerardo Fraga y Guzmán, from Spain. He loved Zak, but he was especially enamoured with his coat texture.

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He even called the judge next to him over to feel Zak’s coat. That’s a particular compliment to the owner as well as the breeder, because the cat’s condition is a reflection of diet and grooming as much as it is genetics and breeding. It’s nice to know you’re doing a good job!

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The Nomination in Zak’s category was also stiff. There were two British Shorthairs (one disqualified himself by almost biting his owner), a stunning white Kurilean Bobtail, and Zak.

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The judge had a cat teaser made with a bobcat’s tail that a Danish merchant sells at shows. We have one at home, too, and I have to hide it from the cats when we aren’t using it. Zak really wanted that tail! He actually jumped out of my arms in an attempt to catch it.

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But in the end, the judge felt that, while both cats were excellent, the Kurilean matched the standard for his breed just a bit better than Zak matched the Singa standard. But it was close…and the Kurilean ended up winning Best in Show for male cats in Category 3! So…losing to a cat who ended up being BIS? Yeah, that’s not bad at all.

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On the way back to our benching cage, we met a little girl who was meowing at all the cats.

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I thought she might like to pet one, so I knelt down so she could pet Zak. I know that if an exhibitor had done that to me when I was kid at a show, I would have been over the moon, so I hope we made that little girl’s day.

Aby-a-Day – 30 Januari: Wordless Wednesday (A day at the show)

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