Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cheese(y) Films

Twitter is a fantastic place to witness and participate in phenomenal flocks of wit. Recently a challenge was to pun on film titles using cheese. What could be better for God and Cheese Day? Some of what we found to be the funniest.

azurite1 Dirty Havarti
Widgett: Quesoblanco
ALH009 The Three Asiagos
JohnGushue East of Edam
ALH009 The Secret Life of Brie 
ObeliskToucher A Night To Camembert
pjwaldron Blue Velveeta
ShirtNinja Muenster's Inc.
DominikH The Stilton of the Lambs  
DougMcBride: Prov Alone
pjwaldron Out on a Limburger
Scottums The Mozzarella Candidate
DominikH Brie to Terabithia
Widgett My Favorite Gruyere
Widgett Goudafella
jenifersf Saturday Night Chevre
misseuph Waiting For Gouda
Widgett The Gods Must Be Käse
meeshiefeet White Cheddar Can't Jump
jugglingscarves Gorgonzilla
BadAstronomer: The Kraft
BadAstronomer: Going My Whey (double feature with Oh, Gouda)
jugglingscarves Gouda Will Hunting
Jules0512 American cheese in London
GreatRedDragon Shmear and Loathing in Las Vegas 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Post: The New Personality Self Portrait (Corin from

It's so exciting! Today we have a guest post by Corin from @infpblog. If you haven't had a chance to read his blog about living as (or living with) an INFP please go check it out.

The New Personality Self Portrait
by Corin

I love the Myers-Briggs. I think it's a behavioral preference test not a personality test. On the Myers-Briggs, I'm an INFP which basically says I'm idealistic. However, the letters INFP can't tell anyone what I'm idealistic about. The MBTI doesn't determine values, interests, priorities or what kind of movies I like. For that, I prefer the New Personality Self-Portrait by John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris

What is the Personality Self-Portrait

The PSP test consists of 107 questions with Yes-No-Maybe answers. You answer Yes if the entire question is true. You answer No if none of it is true. You answer maybe if the question is partly true or if the answer is true sometimes and not others.

For example, one of the questions is: "I typically get into very intense relationships, and I usually find my feelings about the other person change from one extreme to another. Sometimes I almost worship, and other times I can't stand, the person I'm involved with." If it's all true, you answer Yes. If you get into intense relationships but don't move from extremes then it's a Maybe.

The Personality Self-Portrait is based off the Official Book of Crazy, otherwise known as the DSM-IV, The Diagnostic Statistics Manual. Psychologists use the manual to diagnose various psychological disorders. According the DSM-IV, there are 14 personality disorders. The Personality Self-Portrait posits the existence of 14 orders for each disorder, 14 personality styles that are not so excessive as to be categorized as a disorder.

The Personality Styles are:

Vigilant, Solitary, Idiosyncratic, Adventurous, Mercurial, Dramatic, Self-Confident, Sensitive, Devoted, Conscientious, Leisurely, Aggressive, Self-sacrificing, Serious

A personality is not one style. The test score is a line graph of how a person is in every style. Most people have 2 or 3 styles that are the highest, 2 or 3 that are the lowest and everything else is mid-range. Occasionally, I've encountered people with one Style that is very dominant, though I haven't seen that many out of the 100 or so tests I've interpreted.

Unlike the Myers-Briggs which types a person into 16 behavioral preferences, the PSP has 52,623,240,685,682,700 possible combinations.

What My Scores Mean

I'll give a brief overview of my scores.

I interpret the test by looking at the highest and lowest scores. My highest are Idiosyncratic and Adventurous. Adventurous means I take risks. When I was younger, it use to be physical risks, usually involving sports with high chances of injury. Now the risks are more personal like career and self-development. Idiosyncratic tells you that instead of normal risky activities like skiing. I took more unconventional risks which translated as rock climbing and martial arts. These days my unconventional risks involve business ideas.

My lowest styles are Dramatic and Serious. They are exactly like they sounds. I don't take life too seriously and since I'm zero in the Dramatic, I don't make things out to be bigger than they are to add drama to my life. I don't mind my life "boring". I think life is interesting enough without complicating it by reading too much into people and situations.

When looking at the middle scores, the most important thing I note is what has changed and what remains the same. I've always been low on the Vigilant. I let people into my life easily. I share details about my life. I don't make them jump through hoops to prove they're trustworthy like highly Vigilant people.

My Self-Confident has gone up which is to be expected as you get older if you set goals and accomplished them. My Conscientious has gone down because now that I have kids, Work isn't a priority. My Devoted has gone up. That's due to kids also. Highly Devoted people dedicate
their life to those close to them. Your life is their life. When it was just my wife and me, I was supportive but not doting. We had completely separate goals for our lives as well as goals together. Now that we have kids, my life has become much more about them so my Devoted has gone up.

What's interesting to me is that my Solitary has gone up. Before kids, I went out a lot. Now I limit it to once a week. Since the children are a constant whenever they're awake, I like to spend more of my time alone after everyone is in bed.

What the PSP Can Tell You

The Personality Self-Portrait measures things the Myers-Briggs doesn't. If you're high on the Devoted, stay away from people who are highly Aggressive or they'll take advantage of you and any relationship will be one way.

If you're highly Conscientious and low Solitary, make sure your job lets you work with people. If you're high Leisurely and high Self-Confident and low Conscientious, find yourself a sugar
mommy/daddy. If you're high Idiosyncratic and low Sensitive, stay away from high Vigilant people who will box in your free-spirit by wanting to know your whereabouts every second of the day.

I've interpreted around 100 PSP tests in the last 15 years trying to correlate scores with the Myers- Briggs. What I find is that the PSP gives me personality, while the MBTI gives me the default behaviors inside that personality. The Personality Self-Portrait has some holes because it doesn't explain the why. Why am I high Adventurous and not high Leisurely? I know the answer. For anyone else to know requires a conversation not a test.

Tests tell you What, but the Whys make people unique. There's no Yes-No-Maybe test that will tell you a person's Whys.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Sarah Allen

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the second edition of Fresh Voices. We are delighted to share with you the fresh, joyful, and inspiring voice of Sarah Allen.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

My first goal is to be published, but I feel like that’s only the beginning. I think it would be amazing to win all kinds of awards, make the New York Times best seller list, etc. As far-fetched and idealistic as that sounds, I think every writer wants that for themselves. I love hearing what people have to think about my work, so having any kind of following to communicate with would be amazing. I also am interested in working with all kinds of genres, so although I will mostly be working in novel form, I’ve been sending out poetry, short stories and essays, and the plan for my next big project is screenplay. In the future I may even try lyrics. But, you know, first things first…I need to actually finish my book for it to be published.

2. Why do you write?

I feel like if I didn’t write, I wouldn’t be me. It seems so natural that writing is what I do. Great art has a huge impact on me, and I would love to work and hone my craft enough to be able to influence someone in the same way.

3. Your blog writing has an effervescence to it. Have you worked to achieve
that voice or is it just a natural style for you?

Thank you very much! I definitely have to say that if my writing as any effervescence to it, it is just the way I write. That word so accurately describes the way I am and my outlook on life that I don’t think I would be able to take it out of my writing. If I got it from anywhere, I got it from my mother; she is one of the most passionate, lively, interested people I know.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

This question is impossible to answer completely, of course, but here are a few writers who I think have directly influenced my writing style.

Connie Willis: I have never written any speculative fiction, as of yet, but Connie Willis’ personable, human, somewhat humorous tone is one that I enjoy immensely and try to use in a lot of my work. If you haven’t read her book ‘Bellwether’, you’re missing out.

Jane Austen: I don’t think I match her so much in tone as in interest and story. I don’t usually write grand, sweeping plots, so much as intimate stories about relationships. Like Jane.

Ernest Hemingway: I really like Hemingway’s distant, journalistic style. I think my style may be a little more personal than his, but his almost apathetic tone is really effective at least for me, and has definitely pulled me in that direction. Which I think is a good thing, considering I have a tendency towards over-sentimentality.

Neil Simon: I have been involved in theater my whole life, and the majority of the good monologues I’ve used for auditions, classes, etc, have come from him. I think we are very similar in story and tone, and when I write script, he is my inspiration.

Other writers that I love: Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Billy Collins, W.B. Yeats, Stephen King, C. S. Lewis, Charles Dickens.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

I love talking about literature, so I think conferences, lectures, readings, etc., would be something I would enjoy very much. I love travelling, so I would enjoy doing book tours. I love online social networking, and that can be very effective as a book marketing strategy. As for writing itself, the process can be frustrating, but overall it is incredibly rewarding.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at
a different career, what would you choose?

Acting. Definitely. After writing a New York Times best-seller, my next chimerical dream is to win an Academy Award. Having said that, as much as I love theater, I still feel like writing is intrinsically part of my life, and what I am meant to do.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that
word be?

Chimerical. Effervescently.

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

My high school creative writing teacher used to tell us that whereas in real estate the key is ‘location, location, location,’ the key for writing is ‘details, details, details.’ I am always trying to bring my writing out of the abstract and into the concrete, and it makes such a positive difference. Detail can most definitely be the difference between good and great writing.

About Sarah: 
I’m a senior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, majoring in English. I’m a Mormon. I am obsessed with movies, theater, and television and like almost nothing more than brilliant acting. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m watching or acting and I would rather spend the weekend watching movies with good friends and good food then going to a party. My favorite kind of dog is a cavalier king charles spaniel. I like rain better than sun and I own all eleven seasons of Frasier.

In closing, what's a good example of your writing that you would like
to share with us?

First off, here’s a link to my creative writing blog which I post to frequently. I write about the writing process and things that creatively inspire me, and any comments and ideas would be wonderful. Also, I had a poem published in Inscape, BYU’s literary magazine, called Pet Diaries and a 100 word flash fiction story called Diamonds Are that I got to read on the BYU “Word of Mouth” podcast. I am also very active on Twitter.
 Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Your Week in Soogle 2/25/10

Nothing is more entertaining to us than finding out how people get here. There has been a sudden uptick of searches for "stuck thoughts" and today someone got here from New York using the exact phrase "thoughts that get stuck in my head." Ha!

The phrases "Which way did he go, George?" (Looney Toons) and "Ghost Hunters Fan Fiction" continue to be popular. With that strong convergence of cartoons and hauntings you'd expect we'd get far more hits for Scooby Doo. WHERE ARE YOU, SCOOBY DOO? There, hopefully that will help.

Rounding out the top searches and highlighting our nerdy, intellectual side were the numerous searches for "philosophy jokes," "origami statistics," and "creativity quotient" that landed here this week.

And last but not least, the anonymous viewer who spent five minutes reading about Colbert Fan Fiction? Come on, man, leave a comment or something! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Commander Sue Writes!

Usually if I have something to say about my own writing I say it over at by Sue London. If you follow that link you'll see that I, uh, usually don't have a lot to say. But I got a request to hear about my writing (thanks Corin!) and like any artist can't pass up the opportunity. This is a sample from a book that I started back in the late 90s. It was submitted for work-shopping at Viable Paradise in 2007 and even though they asked for more it ultimately didn't make it. Yes, everyone say a collective "awwwww." But of all the characters I've written so far it is George that I love the most. He is driven and noble and sweetly tragic. Since you don't have a book cover to judge it by, or a back of the book synopsis to read, let me set it up for you.

The world has barely recovered from the Information Wars of 2018 and for the last twenty years the 'interactive virtual reality' or vweb has been slowly developed as a playground for scientists and scholars. Now that the vweb is almost within reach of the public the World Congress is becoming concerned and the more conservative members want the vweb shut down until its potential hazards are better understood. The central and nearly messianic figure of vweb development is George Day, founder of Virtuality. While George is facing the Congressional inquiries he thinks their threat is the worst thing that can happen to his world.  Then Virtuality users start dying, and a review of their programs proves that they were murdered.  George has to stop the murderous hacker who has devised a way to travel the byways of Virtuality, while keeping the World Congress from pulling the plug on the only reality he can live in.
   George opened the Washington Post to section A, page 12 and folded it back with a satisfying crinkle. He rustled it again to enjoy the noise. Halfway down the page he found the article he was looking for under Cora Perez’s byline. The corner of his mouth quirked at the title she had chosen, “It’s a Brand New Day”.
   Looking at George Day, it could be said that there is nothing extraordinary about him. Medium build. Medium complexion. Medium hair. Looks that belie any ethnic identification. He’s a little shy, but when his enthusiasm overtakes him his eyes sparkle with humor and he gestures eloquently with his hands. Nothing extraordinary. Except that George has a degenerative disease and has been bed-ridden since the age of twelve. He is in ‘Virtuality’ and I am interviewing him through a videoconference...
   A gentle knock on his office door made George look up from the paper. “Yes?"
   Mbutu stuck his head in. “It’s been off the press, what, five minutes? We’re already getting calls. The president of MiCorp is on line two to congratulate you, if you want to take it.” Mbutu’s trademark smile was even broader than usual. He and George just sort of stared at each other for a moment.
   “This is going to change things, isn’t it?” George asked with a mystified smile.
   “Yeah, I think so.”
   “Did you ever think that we would end up here?”
   “Not in a million years,” he said with a laugh. Shaking his head he added, “Not in two million.”
   While the office door drifted closed behind Mbutu, George picked up line two.
Thanks for checking out my fiction! It gives me a little fuzzy "Squee!" inside to know that you read this far. (If you skipped down here to the bottom just don't tell me.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fresh Voices: Interview with Jeremy Warach

"we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - E.E. Cummings

Welcome to the first in our series of interviews with unpublished authors, Fresh Voices. It is fitting that Jeremy is the first writer featured since reading his vignettes were the thing that convinced us that we really NEEDED to do this series. We're sure that you will love Jeremy's voice as much as we do. You will find links to his fiction at the bottom of the interview.
1. What is your ultimate writing goal?

I have to say that I don't really know what my ultimate goal would be. Or perhaps I have a number of goals. For now, I would love to see a print journal publish one of my stories. Eventually, I would hope to have a novel published which is actually read and enjoyed by people. But first I would have to finish a novel. (Finish writing one, that is. I've finished reading two or three throughout my life.)

2. Why do you write?

I think I write because I've always had a voice in my head telling me, "That's something you can do." I don't listen to everything that the voices in my head tell me, but that's one of the things that have seemed pretty reasonable.

3. Your writing has a lot of atmosphere. Have you worked to achieve that or is it just a natural style for you?

The things that I've put up on my blog site ( are basically exercises. Throughout my life, I've started and abandoned many stories that I got stuck on (I have even written forty thousand words of a novel which I orphaned when I ran out of steam and enthusiasm for the story).

Starting and giving up on stories was very disheartening. But I found that I often had these little scenes or settings or just phrases pop into my head which sounded like they would be fun to write, so not very long ago, I decided that I would write them out just as isolated fragments of stories. No context, no character development, very little plot, and certainly no climax or conclusion: just vignettes. The intention was to simply set a scene descriptively. I also like giving them little cliffhanger-type endings, intentionally leaving the reader asking "but what happened next?" or "why did that happen?"

The decision to write these vignettes is what has kept me interested in writing. And in a way, they have propelled me further. An online friend who is a published author (Elissa Stein, coauthor of "Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation", see read my pieces and asked me to collaborate with her on a series of children's fiction books. Having a collaborator waiting for me to finish a piece of work was what gave me the incentive to actually muscle through and finish the initial draft of the story. And the rewarding feeling of finishing that initial draft is what gave me the impetus to continue writing. I have now completed a few more stories that I've submitted here and there for consideration.

Another encouraging person was Cristina Deptula from Synchronized Chaos (, an interdisciplinary artist's webzine), who published one of my vignettes at Having someone like my work enough to actually ask me if she could publish it was very gratifying.

4. Who are your favorite authors and why do you like them?

I always have a problem with the word "favorite". In whatever realm being considered (authors, movies, music, food), I always have multiple favorites, and my favorites change over time or depending on my mood.

When I was younger, I was heavily into science fiction (I'm a nerd and proud of it). I devoured most of Isaac Asimov's novels, as well as many of those by Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Vernor Vinge, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven. I also love Tolkien, although I'm not a hardcore fantasy reader.

Later I read a few of the classics, like Dostoevsky and Moby Dick. (I can still remember a conversation with someone who asked me, "Why are you reading Moby Dick?" My answer of "Because it's a classic so I wanted to see how good it was" just confused her.)

In recent years, I've been reading more historical fiction and what I guess would be called "literary fiction". Umberto Eco, Iain Pears, David Liss, Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Most recently, Carlos Ruiz Zafón has just blown me away with the way he strings words together (at least in translation – I don't read him in the original Spanish).

I also enjoy reading science fact. I can get completely drawn in by a book on evolution or cosmology or quantum physics. Seriously.

5. What most attracts you to the life of a writer?

I don't know that I'm attracted to the life of a writer. Toiling for hours, days, weeks, months on a piece of work that people may dislike, or worse, completely ignore, certainly doesn't sound very attractive.

It is the end product that attracts me. Having a finished piece of work (as finished as a piece of writing ever is), published by someone who believes in it, read by people who enjoy it. That's what I look forward to.

6. If you couldn't be a writer but knew you were guaranteed success at a different career, what would you choose?

That's easy: musician. I've dabbled in music throughout most of my life, and I played in a few bands over the last several years, but I am at best mediocre at it. And I learned that being in a band is work, as well as being drama-filled. Once it stops being fun, I see no reason to continue with it. But if I knew I could make a good living at it and be happy with the situation, that would be a dream job.

7. If you had to describe your writing in one word, what would that word be?

I hope that an accurately descriptive term for my writing is "anti-soporific".

8. What's the best writing advice you've ever gotten?

I've read a lot of good advice about writing. Some of the best advice even completely contradicted some of the other best advice ("Use outlines" versus "Don't use outlines". "Be very descriptive" versus "Be very plain". "Don't use parentheticals" versus "No, really, don't ever use them".)

What I've distilled out of all of that, for myself, would be something along the lines of: To be a writer, you must read (and you must read like a writer). To be a writer, you must write. Every day, even if it's just two sentences. I try not to edit very much as I'm going along. Editing while writing was one of the things that used to get me into a paralysis and prevent me from making any progress.

"Write what you know about." I didn't take this to heart for a long time. Since I was heavily into science-fiction for many years, my first (and second and third) attempts at writing were in that genre. But one thing about science-fiction readers is that they're sticklers. You have to get the science right. Even if it's science that you're making up, your stuff has to at least be feasible and consistent. If you're going to defy the known laws of physics, you'd better have a good rationalization for how and why that works.

When I tried writing sci-fi, I got bogged down in the details and distracted, endeavoring to make everything work, and the writing just wouldn't happen. ("How fast would a space station have to rotate to provide the same gravity as on the surface of the Earth?" Turns out that someone actually posted a calculator on their website to figure that out for you.)

Fiction which takes place in a different time or location has the same problem. If your main character is a silversmith in 1500's Spain, then you'd better know what it's like to be a silversmith in 1500's Spain.

So I decided to write in the (more or less) present, about situations which don't require any specialized knowledge. I did that with my vignettes and with the other stories I've recently written. They're just stories about people (whom I hope are interesting) doing things (which I hope are interesting).

About Jeremy:
I live on Long Island with my wife Abby and two children. By day, I am in the computer programming field, and in the evening, I squeeze my brain, hoping that something interesting will pop out.
You can read some of my things on my blog site at One of the vignettes I happen to like is "Frost", which can be found at

Thank you for reading this edition of Fresh Voices. Feel free to follow the Fresh Voices list on Twitter or nominate yourself or another author as a Fresh Voice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pre-Orders Available for Stiefvater's Linger

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Twitter Funnies

jimgaffigan Never said about a tatoo, "This will come in real handy 20 yrs from now."
cmdrsue @jimgaffigan Then obviously you've never gotten a tattoo with instructions on how to file for social security and medicare.

There Was Life Before Cliff Huxtable

The Cosby Show was great. Apparently it was so great that it made some people forget that Bill Cosby had about twenty years of brilliance, fame, and success before it came along. At least that's what I have to figure after getting an email from the Huffington Post titled "The Twenty Most Influential Black Comedians in America" that purported to celebrate black comedians for Black History Month but listed Cosby's influence in the 80s. Sorry, Bill, but in their book the eight Grammys (six for best comedy album) and four Emmys that you picked up BEFORE The Cosby Show just don't matter to them. If you link to the article, which is now called The 21 Most Influential Black Comedians (don't know who got a last minute add) you will see that there is no attempt at getting any historical perspective on the struggles and contributions of black comedians. It was a "Hey, it's Black History Month, get a bunch of pictures and quotes and throw them together for people to vote on" sort of approach. Interestingly, the quote they use for Cosby is one of the racier things I've ever seen him say.
So Bill, this thing in 1965 where you started a six-year domination of Grammy awards for Best Comedy Performance? They don't so much care about that.

And why isn't 1970's "Sports" on Amazon?

In a way it's easy to see how Cosby's accomplishments can be overlooked. It's because he managed to make it all look so damn easy. But it wasn't easy, he just made it look that way with his innate charm and class, so you could say that he's the Sidney Poitier of comedians. And you want to talk influence?
Jerry Seinfeld states in the inner sleeve of his album I'm Telling You for the Last Time that [Bill Cosby's Grammy Award winning Why Is There Air?] was the first comedy album he ever listened to, and that it subsequently helped inspire him to become a stand-up comedian. Seinfeld was finally able to meet Cosby in person in 2002.
So not only did he break ground as a black comedian, he inspired a Jewish kid to go on to become one of the most famous (and rich) comedians of all time. And the Cos influences me, too. As I've said before, Bill Cosby is one of the comedians whose bits work their way into my daily speech. Whenever a TV character is about to walk into a situation they shouldn't my husband and I say, "Tonto! Don't go in to town!" And the recent snowpocalypse inspired a lot of snowballs and shouting of "I'll get you Junior Barnes!"

So, in case no one else has done it, let me say it here and now. Thank you, Bill Cosby, for all the contributions you have made to comedy, comedians, and the laughs in my daily life. I never go to the dentist without thinking about you. I never wave people around my car without thinking about you. And I certainly never have chocolate cake (especially for breakfast) without thinking about you. You make all these annoying or mundane moments in life more bearable because now we can laugh about them.

For some of Cosby's award-winning humor (or dvds of I Spy and The Cosby Show) go to our Cos section of Stuff That Gets Stuck in My Store.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tested Out as Writer Positive

I am:
Ursula K. LeGuin
Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Back in Time Reviews: The Cutting Edge (1992)

With the Winter Olympics upon us it seemed like the right time to share one of our favorite little movies: The Cutting Edge. Since it came out in 1992 it's probably older than many of this year's competing athletes... and perhaps hasn't aged as well. But if you enjoy campy, funny little romantic sports movies then Kate and Doug's story might just be the ticket for you.

The tag lines "The King of the Rink is about to meet America's Ice Queen" and alternate "The Ultimate Love/Skate Relationship" are good demonstrations of exactly how campy the movie is willing to be. But when you get past that you discover a genuinely funny little gem that focuses on two competitors who, disappointed at the 1988 Olympics, team up to compete in 1992. The twist is that Doug Dorsey is a blue-collar hockey player while Kate Moseley is a blue-blooded second generation Olympic figure skater. Easily anticipated friction ensues.

I'm sure there's nothing I do that you'd find exciting. I don't open beer bottles with my toes, I don't sit around and count what's left of my teeth, hey, I don't even enjoy a good tractor pull. It's been a limited existence, but I've gotten used to it. ~ Kate
The movie relies on Moira Kelly, as Kate, being able to balance an acid tongue with ingenue vulnerability, confidence with anxiety. Kate is actually one of my favorite heroines because of Kelly's ability to pull that balance off and it has left me wishing that Kelly had been cast as a lead in more movies.

To play against Kate's volatile personality the adorable Doug, played by D.B. Sweeney, only seems to have the two speeds of mellow and angry. With the fussy, pushy Kate of course being able to tip him over into anger a bit more often than would naturally be the case.
If it was forty below and that button meant the difference between a long satisfying life and a cold horrible death from hypothermia, I still wouldn't give you the satisfaction! ~ Doug, after Kate nags him to button the top button of his skating outfit
The Commander's Rating: Four out of five Vulcan salutes. (Admittedly it's a sentimental favorite.)
Pros: Humor, sports-related humor, quotable lines.
Cons: Some seriously 90s hair and clothes, moments of campy humor, moments of even-more-predictable-than-usual plot points.
Recommendation: Fun movie to watch with your sweetie or any friends who really, really like ice skating.  A good option to feel Winter-Olympic-y without having to watch Curling.

Notes on sequels: There were two sequels and neither had the heart that the first one did.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dairy Gods

Some days you don't go looking for the blog post, it comes to you. No, it's not cheese, but Promised Land Dairy makes the best chocolate milk EVER and I fully support any connection they claim to have to the Almighty because such incredible milk must have a divine source. For instance, one day when checking out the grocery store clerk saw my bottle and we were talking about how awesome the Midnight Chocolate Milk is when the manager leaned in to say, "We didn't get the normal shipment of it last Tuesday. There were some *very* upset customers!" To which I actually responded, with a tone of some relief, "Well, thank God it's here now!" Since when does chocolate milk incite that kind of cultist passion?

But this week I reached into the grocery refrigerator to find that the day I both hoped and feared had come. Promised Land chocolate milk was in a plastic bottle. In some ways it was something to hope for. When you lug around a giant glass bottle you live in fear of dropping it. And I'd already ended up with a huge stockpile of old bottles because it seems a crime to throw such lovely dairy bottles away. They serve as nice vases for handfuls of wildflowers or to display beach glass in the window. But with over 20 of them piled in the back of the cabinet my husband had already said enough was enough.

On the other hand, there is the adjustment issue. It just doesn't TASTE as good in plastic as it does in glass. There is also a different "feel" to the bottle. If this were the first bottle of Promised Land chocolate milk I'd had I tend to doubt that I would've been as avid a fan.And last but not least, if my research back in college still holds true, there are only two things that are 100% recyclable - metal and glass. We recycle a lot of plastic but unless things have changed there is waste in the process.

So I'll go back to contemplating the divine in a bottle of chocolate milk, be it glass or plastic, and leave you to decide whether you're going to try to track down the One True Chocolate Milk in your own town.

2/15/2010 Update:
Within two hours of posting this we got a Google search hit on the topic so I emailed the Promised Land Dairy to ask if they had a press release or a statement about the change to plastic bottles that they would like to share. They sent me a copy the following letter in less than one business day. You have to love these people. And their explanation is a pretty reasonable one.

January 15, 2010 

To Our Valued Customers:

Beginning this month, we will be converting to a new custom made PET quart bottle that will have the same high quality visual impact, rigidity, and recycling ability as out current single serve and half gallon PET bottles, which are of course BPA free.  And perhaps most importantly, they will help continue to keep the same flavor and freshness you have come to expect with Promised Land products.

We are taking this step for a number of reasons.  As the cost of glass continues to rise due to petroleum and raw material increases, we must look at alternative means of keeping our pricing in line so our outstanding products can continue to be available at a reasonable price in today’s competitive market.  Secondly, the decrease in the weight of our new quarts will be another step we are taking toward reducing fuel consumption in shipping and thus greater packaging sustainability, which is a goal of many environmentally concerned vendors today.  For our long-term development as a company, it will also allow us to carry our healthy and all natural products through an extensive US distribution network now available to us as a part of the National Dairy family.

We are making a substantial investment in order to create the custom molds to produce this new quart bottle.  We believe however, in the long run, it will provide a return to our customers and our environment in many ways, as well as help to expand our unique all Jersey cow milk and outstanding line of flavors to a growing number of customers seeking healthy all natural milk.

Thank you for your support as customers of All Natural Promised Land Dairy.

G.K. [full name removed by TTGSiMH to protect privacy]
General Sales Manager

Friday, February 12, 2010

Resources for Fresh Voices

This list will continue to grow as we find more resources. Feel free to recommend more resources in the comments.

Crit Partners Match Service on Ning

Nominations for Fresh Voices

We are always looking for new talent to feature in our Fresh Voices interview series. Fresh Voices are published every Friday. You can nominate yourself or another writer for Fresh Voices by emailing or posting a comment here. All nominees will be subject to the Rules if they are selected for publication.

The benefits of publication as a Fresh Voice include admiration from other unpublished authors, promotion by Sue London as she drops your name (and interview link) at various blogs around the interwebs, and access to the freakishly high Google ranking of Thoughts That Get Stuck in My Head (we still haven't figured that one out, we think someone at Google must be a fan).

Rules for Fresh Voices

The weekly Fresh Voices post will feature an unpublished author, including an interview and a link to some of their writing. If you're reading this because you have been recommended to be featured as a Fresh Voice then congratulations! We couldn't be more excited than to be featuring your writing. If you are just curious about Fresh Writers then stay tuned for the Friday features or email for more details or to nominate someone.

But as Grandpa said when the boys got to Santa Carla: Rules! We've got some rules around here. These rules may be updated periodically based on lessons learned so please read them again before you participate as a Fresh Voice even if you have read them before.
  1. Unpublished: The first criteria is that a Fresh Voice must be unpublished. But what does that even mean anymore? For our purposes please use the following definition of unpublished for nominating yourself or others: not published by a major publishing house, nor by a magazine with significant circulation (over 100,000), nor through self-publication with over 1,000 units in sales. Fair enough? Meanwhile, preference will be given to talented writers with no publication experience at all, excluding publication to their own website or blog.
  2. Nice Matters: In its darkest moments this blog has maybe a PG-rating and most of the time we're more G-rated than a Disney film. If you are invited to be profiled as a Fresh Voice please avoid using vulgar language or it will be bleeped before publication. You are free to link to any of your own writing that you want to, but it would also be polite to warn our readers if the linked item is racy or NSFW (not safe for work). This rule also applies to anyone who wants to comment on a Fresh Voices post. Be nice or be deleted.
  3. Pay It Forward: Becoming a Fresh Voice means joining a group with other aspiring writers and we can all use support from each other. In practical terms this means that you will commit to promoting the link for future Fresh Voices at least once on Fridays - through a tweet, blog post, Facebook update, whatever. An easy link to remember is - that way you don't have to find the new Fresh Voice link. This way we can create a snowball and some exposure. Exposure may lead to interest, and interest may lead to someone coming along and reading YOUR interview and wanting to know more. It's just a big circle of happy.
  4. There Will Be More Rules: Having spent many years as a bureaucrat I can tell you that this rule will keep getting bumped down because there will always have to be more rules. Because as the Bureaucratic Rule from the Notorious ADB goes: There's a reason, there's ALWAYS a reason... (Usually it's someone taking advantage and thus messing it up for everyone else.)
Thanks for your time and we look forward to featuring lots of Fresh Voices!

Notes: Updated on 4/18/10 to include new rule #3 Pay it Forward.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thoughts That Get Stuck in My Day of the Week

Does this blog post look a little familiar? Yes, it's time for a change to our lineup. Like so many things lately, this is coming a bit late to be considered a "New Year" change; but better late than never I always say. There are changes to Monday, Tuesday, and Friday while the rest of the week stays pretty much the same. The change I'm most excited about are the plans for Friday (yes, this is the requisite teaser to scroll down). Feedback is always appropriate so make comments.

MONDAY IS MOVIE DAY: Do you know what we do all weekend? Watch movies (and tv shows) that's what, so on Monday we'll be ready to tell you all about it. There will be old stuff, new stuff, borrowed stuff, and blue stuff. (Ok, we're a G-rated blog, it won't be very blue. Unless Stitch or the Genie from Aladdin count.)

TUESDAY IS COMEDY DAY: Do you love the comedy like we do? Just a few minutes ago we tromped out in the cold while reciting Steve Martin's bit about kitty handcuffs. Come by on Tuesdays to check out a funny video or song. Or if you can't remember a particular comedian or bit then maybe we can help you out.

WEDNESDAY IS WRITING DAY: It's still all about writing! Fiction, non-fiction, screenwriting, writers' blog roundups, and updates on our writing pursuits. Come sit at our round table, have some coffee or tea, and do your best Dorothy Parker impersonation.

THURSDAY IS TOYS DAY: A day for all sorts of geek interests like internet games, new toys from ThinkGeek, updates on the D&D campaign... that sort of thing. Also reports on other bloggers who have posted fun things on their blogs (so drop me a tweet, email, or comment when you have something good).

FRIDAY IS FRESH VOICES DAY: Extending the writing theme into another day where we will post interviews with aspiring authors under the theory "it is that which is nurtured that grows." Feel free to recommend Fresh Voices to be posted on the Twitter List or featured on the Thoughts.

SATURDAY IS POP DAY: Pop psychology (yes, we will try to contain all of the personality tests and pop psych ruminations on a day when you're not likely to come by, isn't that kind of us?), pop culture, and sometimes soda pop. If you like all this stuff as much as we do then come by and let's entertain each other.

SUNDAY IS GOD AND CHEESE DAY: We will explore deep thoughts on philosophy, spirituality, or if nothing else occurs to us - cheese, in a bit of an homage (fromage?) to G.K. Chesterton.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weird of the Week: Snowpocalypse!

Living in the Mid-Atlantic region, we've been seeing the term Snowpocalypse flying around like a blizzard. Urban Dictionary has an excellent definition:
A weather condition in which the amount of fallen snow, while not really such a big deal, wreaks havoc on a city, effectively shutting it down and leaving its citizens stunned and unable to see any sign of hope or a return to normalcy. It's perceived much like the aftermath of a nuclear event, but really... it's just freakin' snow!!

In cases of a Snowpocalypse it is really the panicked reaction of said citizens and NOT the actual snow that makes the situation worthy of the title. People simply aren't used to it, lose their heads and blame the city for the weather.
Here's hoping that you and yours are safe this Snowpocalypse (a.k.a., Super Bowl Superstorm) weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sound, Light, and Titanium Are Toys, Too

When it comes to Toys and Fun it's hard to beat ThinkGeek. Some of my favorite things this week:
  • Dick Tracy wishes he had this bluetooth watch that displays who's calling your cellphone. 
  • A keyboard made out of light. Do you hear me? A KEYBOARD MADE OUT OF LIGHT.
  • A titanium spork in case you get that promotion to rule Heck. I've heard that Phil is moving on (but, hey, you didn't hear it from me).
You can keep up with the latest ThinkGeeky toys by following ThinkGeekSpam on Twitter.