Morning! Welcome to another week of Stuff We Like brought to you by the letter 'c' and Freddy.
Want to know why? Because not only are you doing something good for yourself, you are doing good for others.
Every work day I walk to the train station, take the train downtown, then walk to my work. Once my day is over I hoof it back to the station and get home. I am guaranteed to walk a minimum of 6 miles a day, 5 days a week.
I do it because I enjoy walking. I put in my head phones, tune out the world, and just go. It's my time to myself, and I relish it. Even in subzero temperatures I walked to work.
When a coworker was introduced to this app, the first person they thought of was me, because they know I'm already walking/running to and from work.
Might as well do some good, right?
These are just some of the charities that are partnered with Charity Miles. The list is even longer. All reputable places you can give to while you're walking/running/biking. You pick one then Humana or Johnson & Johnson sponsors you as you do your thing.
If you noticed you have a selection and can go from there.
There are quirks, and some things I wish they could improve, but for now I'm happy that there is something out there like this.
It's nice to know when I'm trying to take care of myself, I can help someone else too. All those cents add up after a while.
Freddy here. I want to talk about my Outside the Margins column today, but first I have to tell you about PBA.
What is PBA?
Prism Book Alliance is a great source for readers of queer fiction. They are a review site - they do mostly MM romance but review other stuff as well. Their reviewers do a great job of reviewing the book without giving away major plot points (or the endings - which we as authors and publishers appreciate), let us know what worked for them or what didn't, and they try to highlight why other people may like the book even if they didn't. Positive people. And that's awesome.
Brandilyn is the site owner. It started off as a review site of her own and has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. She does a lot of things for both the readers and authors.
Five Things Fridays
Retro Reads Author Spotlight
Outside the Margins
All of these allow readers a one stop location for the reader to find lots of different info while allowing authors to help build a platform for themselves. You can pick and choose what information you want to see and so forth.
When Brandilyn asked me to be an OtM contributor, I jumped at the chance, not really knowing what I would do. Ultimately I decided on a flash fiction piece. ;) There are a lot of different contributors to the column, all sharing, spreading ideas and facilitating discussions. It's wonderful to see so many different people come together to talk about things they feel are relevant to them, publishing, readers, and the world at large. Edmond Manning has wonderful commentary as does Hank Edwards. Posy Roberts shares bits of wisdom with us. There are wonderful articles by KJ Charles, Anna Zabo, Brigham Vaughn, and so many others. And the best part about it? All these different voices are in one spot to share their voices, experience, and wonder with the world. What other place would that happen?
So, thank you, Brandilyn. For bringing all of us together and giving us a place to speak.
I know what you're thinking. Only Freddy could write a SWL about band-aids, but it's totally reasonable I swear. I have proof why band-aids are awesome. If you get squeamish easily don't look at the next photo. (It's totally not that bad).
Last Wednesday I was attacked by this blister! I didn't even notice it until after it had torn open (<---- same person who walked around 3 days with dislocated elbow), but when I noticed it, I did because it hurt. Isn't the blister in the most inconvenient spot? That part of your toe bends all the fucking time. How is a band-aid suppose to stay on that sucker? 'Cause you want one when wearing shoes and walking around all day. Otherwise all sorts of crap ends up in it and you could get an infection. (Not the best way to lose a toe BTW, or foot really. Or a leg. That could happen too.) )
BEST BAND-AIDS EVER! They stay put. They don't feel funky. And they come off when you want them too. TRIFECTA. So, yes, my Stuff We Like post is about Band-aids, but who hasn't had a blister from hell?
As some of you know, the individual releases from Cabin for Two have been getting some anniversary updates (cosmetic stuff - covers). The last two on the docket are Freddy's Dirty Little Secret and Toni's A Bear in the Woods: Smokey Mountain Bears 1.
Freddy's story is still up, but we have pulled Toni's story down while undergoing renovations ;). No worries, A Bear in the Woods will be back shortly, with a couple surprises planned as an anniversary gift to fans. We are certainly looking forward to it, so we hope you will too.
The MCB Crew
Freddy here with another fun-filled SWL. Oh, Beer, how I enjoy you to the fullest.
I know some people are beer drinkers. I am. There are so many different types out there these days it's hard not to enjoy them. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy alcohol of many different kinds, not just beer. Wine often gets its due, as it should. It's great stuff. The hard liquor does as well, depending on what it is, otherwise it can be shunned just as badly (if not as worse) as beer.
Beer often gets the reputation of being uncultured, low brow, piss water. Times are changing, not fast enough for me though.
I was born when the microbrews really started taking off in the US. People took a look around and said "We can do better." And they have. Just walk into your local grocery (or alcohol seller) and you will see a humungous selection. All you have to do is find what type you like. And there are a TON.
There are two main types of beer: top-fermenting yeasts which produce our Ales, and bottom-fermenting yeasts which produce our Lagers (most beers are lagers). The ales are produced using warmer temperatures while the lagers are produced at colder temperatures. There is Belgian style of spontaneous fermentation, referred to as lambic, that is gaining some traction too. Beer styles are so much more than the fermentation process though. Beers are categorized by factors such as colour, flavour, strength, ingredients, production method, recipe, history, or origin.
Case in point: IPAs - Indian Pale Ales - have been popular over the past five years, though their traction is slowing. It was getting to the point they were so hoppy you could only taste the hops, no balance to the other flavors in the beer.
And yes, beers should have lots of different flavors. Just look at the picture above. Do you think those beers are going to taste the same? Up there is a blonde ale, a stout, an IPA or pale ale, and an amber ale or dark larger. (Please note, these are mainly guesses based on the coloring - that's why there are some "ors" in the bunch.) Each of these have been made using different ingredients and methods producing a vast array of flavors to enjoy - Yeast, Grain, Hops, & Water all mixed together to produce something unique and ready to go hand in hand with a meal. All good beer goes better with a meal after all, just like wine. You just have to know how to pair it. (Sound familiar?)
I had Wine Appreciation in college (quiet, it was a hard class - not just drinking), and my Professor Vine (yes, that was his real name) had some good advice.
"Don't listen to the snobs, they're drinking to impress and mostly crap is coming out of their mouths. Drink what you like. Enjoy what you drink, whether it be wine, beer, or something else."
Those words stayed with me, as did his lessons in enjoying food with alcohol and not just alcohol to get drunk. There were $20 bottle of wines that we tasted alongside some $200 bottles, because he wanted to prove a point. Sometimes a name sells the bottle, sometimes it's the taste. Go with the taste—the expensive bottle didn't always win. Pair what you like to drink with food and your taste, sometimes the rules help, but don't force yourself to drink something because tradition said so. Sometimes beer is the better choice.
I loved him.
Beer has come a long way since the seventies, when people started thinking the could really make something out of it. I encourage everyone to go to a tasting, because yes, there are beer tastings all over the place, and see if you find something you like. You never know. You might find a beer just for you.