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This article was published on December 6, 2011



Welcome to our fifteenth Tumblr Tuesday, where every Tuesday we celebrate our love of Tumblr by interviewing the mastermind behind a new blog. Tumblr, a New York City based startup, is like the FFFFound for the rest of the world. It’s as shareable and fast-paced as Twitter but populated with more in-depth text and rich images.

On September 9th, 2011, we reported that at an average of 37.5 million daily posts, Tumblr reached its first mega milestone of 10 billion posts. We’ve seen plenty of animal themed Tumblrs in the past like Animals Being Dicks, Hungover Owls and The Fluffington Post. Why? Because animals are awesome. They are like us but cuter, dumber and don’t follow anyone else’s rules. For this week’s Tumblr Tuesday, we’d like to introduce you to the brilliantly hilarious Justin Valmassoi who runs the Tumblr, ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS. You will not regret reading this interview all the way to the end. Valmassoi is something of a genius.

CBM: Do you run the Tumblr with anyone else?

Justin Valmassoi: Nope. Just me and my Shift key and my desk (and my insomnia, and sometimes whiskey).

CBM: What do you do when you’re not writing in all caps below photos of animals?

JV: For money I manage a café/venue in Seattle, WA and sell ‘zines to strangers. For entertainment, I read books, write things, wander around the city staring at things/people, and cook. Sometimes I watch Boardwalk Empire or Misfits, or cry alone in the dark confines of my bedroom.

CBM: Do you own any pets? 

JV: No pets. I used to have cats because my veterinarian friend would rescue all the crippled freakshows and soon-to-be killed kittens from her job and then send them home in my bike bag when I was drunk. I had one named Freakshow, oddly enough, that had one eye, a kinky tail, two poorly healed broken legs and a crooked jaw, and another named Breakfast that was perhaps the world’s most annoying living creature, but I left them behind in Philadelphia years ago when I moved to Chicago. I now live with my brother, who is deathly allergic to furry things, so we remain pet-less. I don’t mind. I’m also allergic. It’s nice to be able to breathe and open my eyes all the way, although I do miss having something to throw wadded up paper towels at for hours on end that also slept on my face.

CBM: What inspired you to start this Tumblr blog?

JV: I had a bunch of capslock captioned animal pictures scattered over my abandoned tumblrs and my ex-girlfriend asked me to put them all in one spot so she didn’t have to search for them when she wanted to giggle. As I had just moved to the unfriendliest city on the planet (Seattle) and spent most nights absentmindedly dicking around on the Internet it seemed like a good waste of time. Then when I had them all in one spot I just started writing more. Snowball effect. Now I’m trapped. I can’t stop.

CBM: Why are animals with all capped text captions so funny?

JV: I have no idea. That’s actually the most common reply or note on every single one. “Why is this so funny? lol” or “I don’t know why this is so funny to me” etc. I don’t even think most of them are particularly funny, and the ones that do make me giggle uncontrollably while I write them are almost always unpopular. I just stare at a picture of a dolphin or a lemur or whatever for five minutes then bang away at my keyboard, trying to imagine what it’s thinking. Usually it’s something about Splenda or intersectionality in the feminist discourse. For whatever reason this appears to tickle people in their funny places.

CBM: What are your 5 best animals talking in all caps posts?

JV: I’m going to go with personal favorites because it saves me the trouble of digging through the archives looking to see which ones were hits. So, in no particular order:

Steve the Tube

Carla and Larry

Sexy-time alpacas

Honest Don

Chicken Nugget Dance

(We’ve pasted them throughout this article for your viewing pleasure)

JV: There are a few others but those are the first that came to mind. I also like any of the ones where I’ve been able to use satire/kittens/humor to get people talking about race relations, American domestic policy, gay rights, feminism, etc. I like to see healthy discourse and some topics are hard for people to broach. Life is easier with llamas.

CBM: What other Tumblrs do you run?

JV: I have my personal tumblr, TFWISWF? (which is where people who like ATIAC go to have their dreams shattered), the mostly forgotten ‘internet presences’ of my ‘zines (Rosario Dawson Loves Me and SMAYARTZAYALWTIGAIAIK, respectively) and a little odds and ends vignette doodad called Whatever Doesn’t Fit where I collect all my old sad breakup posts for people to cry about. Basically only the personal one and ATIAC ever get updated.

CBM: What other Tumblrs do you love?

JV: I mostly follow individuals, not single serving tumblrs or whatever they’re called. I’m Internet friends with Paula Deen Riding Things and Feminist Ryan Gosling. We’re thinking of starting up a brunch club/street gang/breakdance troupe, but so far it’s just in the logistics stage. I’ve followed Janitor Of Lunacy for years. Julia Segal refuses to marry me despite my repeated begging, but I still follow her, and theantipodeanhomo makes me chuckle all the time, not to mention being an all around swell person. Other than that it’s the usual cat blogs, collections of pictures of sexy people, and people I either know or would like to kiss.

CBM: Have you had anything awesome happen to you as a result of starting this Tumblr?

JV: I just had a beautiful Scottish Italian woman stay at my house and make love to me in front of the fireplace for two weeks, and technically we met through Tumblr, plus I fully intend upon marrying her and making babies with huge eyebrows that will someday grow large enough to act as my interns, so I guess that. A couple of literary agents have said hello, so someday people might realize I can write more than photo captions with the Caps Lock key on, but every day is something new and kind of wonderful thanks to ye olde Tumblr. The sheer number of “You have totally brightened my day” or “This is my favorite Tumblr” messages I receive means more to me than I can properly express.

Basically ATIAC has turned me from an Internet-hating curmudgeon to someone who wakes up every day and tries to make a shitload of people smile, which is somewhat of a modern day miracle. I love my followers, and thus I am forced to love Tumblr as well. It’s not the digital manifestation of Satan I have always believed it to be. So yes, all sorts of awesome things happen every day, and I wouldn’t change it for all the Triscuits in America.

Check out our Tumblr Tuesday from weeks’ past: