• The Most Comprehensive List of Halloween Candy & Alcohol Pairings Ever Written

    Shortly before Halloween, a Facebook friend posted a link to an article titled “7 WinesTo Pair With Your Favorite Halloween Candy”.  My thought at first glance was “OH HELL YES” because while the consumption of sugar and alcohol may for some be an enjoyable pastime, for women in their forties it is an invaluable survival technique that can never be too refined.

    Sadly, I quickly noticed a lot of things very wrong with this article. read more

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  • How Not to Sell Vibrators

    A few days ago, I received a Carol Wright Gifts catalog in the mail.  If you’re not familiar with them, they are one of the many Random Occasionally Useful Crap companies that sell everything from dog shoes to paisley-framed reading glasses to novelty kitchen gadgets.  And I admit that, when I receive these publications, I flip through them before placing them in the recycle bin because once in a great while there is something that actually interests me.

    In this case, it was Fleece-Lined Leggings.  I’m very sad that I can’t in good conscience order those.  Because they sound super comfy and ideal for working-at-home winter days.  But I will not give Carol Wright a dime of my money until they change one very important thing.

    The leggings were on the first page of this seemingly innocuous gift catalog and, encouraged, I continued flipping pages.  The Removable Instant Eyebrows on page 7 were definitely pause-worthy.  But it was pages 20 & 21 that made me stop dead in my flipping tracks. read more

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  • Stop Lying to Yourselves

    The fabulous George Takei this morning posted this photo on his Facebook page

    Unicorn

    words of advice I have been hearing for about 30 years, but funny nonetheless.  And while I didn’t have time to read all of the 276798364 comments that his posts routinely receive because he is all the awesome, the ones I did read were unanimously in agreement with the sentiment.

    However, I submit to you the following: read more

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  • Dear BBC…

    Every year or so, an Internet quiz starts recirculating, about 100 books the BBC thinks most people have only read six of.  The implication being, of course, that most people are ill-read mental slobs who don’t know which end of a dust jacket to eat their soup with.

    And every year or so when I see this quiz pop up again, I take a peek at the latest iteration, which never fails to amuse, amaze, and annoy me.  I have been reading since 1975.  I average 2 or 3 books a month.  And since I math almost as well as I read, that tells me 100 books is a small fraction of what I’ve mentally consumed in my literate lifetime.  So, BBC, here are a few things I would like to tell you about my reading habits and my take on your idea of what people should be reading: read more

    I was here and read this!

  • Chiquita’s Amber & Tan Bundt

    As many of you are aware, November 15 is National Bundt Day.  This is the third year I’ve observed the day by baking an original recipe Bundt cake, and the third year that there has been a unique emotional circumstance attached to the event.  In 2011, I was on the verge of buying a house and, as I baked my Tiramisu Bundt in my tiny apartment kitchen, I knew it would be one of the last things I baked in the place that had been home for almost 15 years.  2012 brought the Avenging Dark Chocolate Bacon Scourge Bundt of Doom, the result of several sources of frustration and annoyance translating themselves into dessert.

    This year, on November 13, I was told by a dear friend that one of the most amazing girls I have ever had the honor of knowing had passed away. read more

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  • Adventures in Shopping: Washing Machines

    I was 42 years old before I ever needed to buy any major appliances. For most of my adult life, I rented an apartment that had a fridge included and a laundry room on site, and prior to that I lived with my parents, where my input on the purchase of such things was limited to the occasional “I like the green one better”.

    Then we bought a house. This particular house also had a fridge included (a really nice one, too; thank you, previous owners), but we did need a washer & dryer. And since our household setup is based on the somewhat old-fashioned model of him earning the money and me spending it, the task of selecting, purchasing, and arranging for delivery of said appliances settled on my full-time-homemaking shoulders. read more

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  • Those Are Not “Free” Magazines

    Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I have extremely mixed feelings about the print-on-demand magazine industry.  On the one hand, it provides an outlet for creative people to do some amazing work with no financial outlay.  On the other hand, that very lack of required financial commitment has created some rather callous attitudes among people who now claim the title of “editor”.

    One recurring statement from these editors drives me particularly crazy, that they do not give “free” magazines to contributors.  And yes, they usually do put the word ‘free’ in quotes, whether for emphasis or irony I’m not sure.  In one distinctly memorable case, a magazine’s submission guidelines stated quite emphatically “we do NOT give out free magazines, so DON’T ASK”.  This is the attitude I have a problem with. read more

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  • The Large-Breasted Geek Phenomenon: Some Theories

    I have a dear friend who is, hands down, the most dedicated geek I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  She loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, Comic-Con, WoW, you name it, she’s into it to a degree I find not only endearing but fascinating in its dedication.

    She also has really large breasts.  And apparently, there are women who believe these things cannot exist simultaneously in a single being, so they insist either the breasts are fake or the geekery must be.

    I know for a fact both of these things are genuine in this particular woman, and I also know there are others like her in the world.  Which begs the question, where does the large-breasted geek come from?  How is she formed, in what environment does she thrive?  After careful thought, I have come up with three possible theories to explain her. read more

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  • Things That Are Not Plagiarism

    Few things on the Internet bug me more, as an editor, an artist, and a human being who loves language enough to want to see it used properly, than the constant throwing around of accusations of plagiarism by people who don’t seem to have taken the time to learn what that word actually means.

    Plagiarism is when someone takes someone else’s original work and claims it as their own, either intact or after making only very minor alterations that leave it still recognizable as the original work. read more

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  • How I Art Good

    I was asked this evening “how do you constantly take pretty pictures that don’t look forced or awkward? HOW DO YOU ART SO GOOD?!?!”

    Before I say anything else, I would like to commend the asker on her use of “art” as a verb. Because, really, it is. It’s an action, a process. The finished product is where it becomes a noun, but first you have to get there. You run a run. You jump a jump. And you art your art.

    As to how I art so good, there are a lot of answers to that.  I hardly consider myself the be-all and end-all of models, but I am asked often enough for advice on the subject that I feel qualified to give some.  So here it is, with the hope that you, my dearly appreciated readers, will glean something useful from it. read more

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  • The Avenging Dark Chocolate Bacon Scourge Bundt of Doom

    As many of you know, November 15 is National Bundt Cake Day.  Last year, I participated in an online roundup put together by a food blogger who then turned around and did something I find not only completely uncool and unforgivable, but also not at all in keeping with the spirit of something as fun and frivolous as the celebration of Bundt.

    Seriously.  It’s a day dedicated to cake.  We’re not curing cancer here.  We’re not engaged in a particularly noble pursuit with lasting benefits to all mankind.  We’re just baking some fucking cakes.

    So the bad taste left over from last year’s NBCD celebration, combined with the fact that apparently I don’t get to see any damn hockey this year, put me in rather a more violent mood than is my usual when I’m about to make a cake.  read more

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  • What I Learned from Helen Gurley Brown

    I have never purchased a copy of Cosmopolitan in my life.  In fact, it has rarely done anything other than annoy me with its covers featuring too-perfect women, too good to be true “lifestyle tips”, too far beyond the average budget “must haves”, its constant subtle implications that, happy though I may think myself, I could be doing better.  Nay, I should be doing better.

    However, it must be said that the work of Helen Gurley Brown has had a profound impact on me and the way I live my life, an impact that has so far spanned 25+ years and will no doubt continue as long as I do.  I first read Sex and the Single Girl as a teenager, back in the 80’s.  I have reread it several times since then.  And not a day goes by that I don’t apply something I learned from that book to something I am doing that day.  I’m not single, and I’m no longer really a “girl” in the youthful sense of the word, but the lessons still apply, some even more so now than they did when I was younger and on my own. read more

    I was here and read this!