• 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

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  • Things That Are Not Artistic Nudes

    I spend quite a bit of time on deviantART, scouting out content for The Poetic Pinup Revue.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the job, and it has netted some truly beautiful images that might not have found their way to our pages otherwise.

    However, it must be said that for every gem uncovered, there are several layers of non-gemlike material to be got through first, and the majority of them are found in dA’s “Artistic Nudes” category.  Granted, they only wind up there for lack of a more suitable category, such as “Porn by People Who Do Not Have the Balls to Admit Their Work is Porn” or even a more general “Photos of Nipples and Genitals with Little Else to Recommend Them” but, while I will never tell another artist what to create, the following really don’t qualify as “Artistic Nudes”. read more

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  • A Niche is Supposed to be a Good Thing

    Once upon a while back, I read and refrained from joining in on a conversation about required sizes of digital images for quality print.  One individual insisted that 300 dpi and 72 dpi are exactly the same thing and anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about.

    Yeah.  I’ll let you absorb that for a moment.

    Party B said “um… no” and proceeded to explain why.  Party A refused to listen, and Party C, on whose page this conversation was taking place, finally said “hey, let’s just cite artistic difference and end this”.  Wise party, that C.  C was wrong, of course, but at least the conversation ended.

    It has recently been brought to my attention that someone of the Party A school is starting a magazine.  And their “niche” will be not requiring high-resolution images. read more

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  • The ‘Editor’ vs. ‘MagCloud Profiteer’ Quiz

    I have written before my opinions of the impact of print-on-demand publishing on the magazine world, both for the better and for the worse. Before I go any further, I would like to state one thing very clearly: I will never be against any outlet that provides creative people the opportunity to get their work into the world without requiring any financial outlay upfront. Ever. And because print-on-demand publishing provides exactly that, I am not against it, per se.

    However, some of the people who, as a result of that outlet, are now running around bearing the self-granted titles of “editor” and “publisher” are frankly starting to piss me off just a bit. So, here’s a little quiz, some basics that really should be covered before you give yourself a title like that. read more

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  • Dear Diet Karma; We Need to Talk

    Dear Diet Karma,

    I know we’ve had our differences in the past, but it’s a new year now and I feel the time has come for us to set those differences aside and work together toward a common end.  Specifically, my end.  The rear one.

    The standard science behind the loss and gain of weight is, of course, the ratio of caloric intake to caloric burn.  But the details of that seem to contain inconsistencies; for instance, number of calories in pure fat vs. body fat.  Not telling you how to do your job, just saying there’s obviously room for some discretionary allowances on your part.  That being said, I would like to request that I be given a weight-gain pass on consumption of the following items: read more

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  • Chuck Norris, My Kitchen Needs You

    The other day, my holiday task du jour was to reduce 3 1/2 pounds of whole dates to a mush the texture of which would hold a spherical shape when mixed with brandy and covered with chocolate. It is my third year making this particular confection, having met with varying degrees of success in previous attempts, all of which were delicious, if not texturally and structurally ideal.

    The first year, my Black & Decker 750 watt blender proved unequal to this task; the motor is powerful enough to pull a wagon holding three small children and a medium pig, but the blade assembly is badly angled for food chopping. I did not blame the blender, and quietly reassured it that as long as it continued to make me soup and margaritas, it would always have a place in my home and heart. I finished the job with a large knife and some of the most exquisite strings of profanity ever uttered in my kitchen, already planning how different things would be next time. read more

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