The Beginning

This is it. For real this time. I know I’ve written various “goodbye” posts over the years. (Looking back, I’m almost sorry I didn’t create a separate category for them.) But today, this one, at long last, is the one. I am officially retiring Back to the Fridge. But don’t worry! There’s good news at the end of this post.

But before we get that far, I wanted to engage in some serious navel-gazing just one last time, in the form of a Back to the Fridge retrospective. It’s long. And if you’re really just here for the punchline, then feel free to skip over all this and jump to the end. But me, I love history and it seems fitting at this juncture to take a long look back. So hop into the DeLorean, set the time circuits for early 2008, and let’s hit eighty-eight miles per hour.


The site’s history can be easily divided into ages. I count seven of them and they look like this:

The top chart shows the frequency of posts over the years (each blue vertical line is a post). Each background color corresponds to an age. The second chart shows a count of comments per post.

That is all. I like numbers and graphs and charts, so why not kick things off that way?

The Prehistoric Age


October 2007 to May 2008

After I published Why Your Last Diet Failed You in October 2007, I immediately began looking for ways to promote it. One early fan of the book asked me, “Do you blog?” to which I replied, “What’s a blog?” A short time later, after I hired a publicist, she said, “Do you blog?” to which I replied, “Okay, I think I really need to look into this ‘blog’ thing.”

That’s when I decided to: 1) find a dictionary and look up the word, and 2) start my own.

The Dark Ages

screenshot of version 1 of the web site

May 2008 to August 2008

The first version of the blog. Man, that was one ugly site. Go ahead, click on the thumbnail for a full-size image. (In fact, all the thumbnail-sized images in this post will link to their large-sized counterparts. So be sure to enjoy this walk through time in high def.)

At the time I thought it looked okay. I knew I could do better, but I also just wanted to get something out there. It’s hard to look back on it, though.

Before moving on, though, a confession. The astute reader has by now discovered an anomaly. Just above I said I started the blog sometime after the book’s launch yet the first blog posts go back to May 2007. What gives? Well, I’ll tell you. The first “year” of posts are fake.

Well, I mean, they’re real posts. I wrote them and everything. However, I spent the months of April and May 2008 writing a year’s worth of posts. When I “launched” the blog around May 30, 2008, I didn’t want it to be empty. Plus, I wanted to document the time leading up to the book publish as well as get some experience writing posts. Looking back, it was a stupid idea. But there you go.

The Golden Age

screenshot of version 2 of the web site

August 2008 to April 2009

Ahhhhh . . . This was, without a doubt, the blog’s Golden Age. I spent a LOT of time over the summer of 2008 working on a new, unique, from-scratch, custom WordPress theme. This would be the first thing to set me apart from the crowd and help “build my brand” so to speak.

I posted once each weekday. Each weekday had a theme:

Monday: Return to Onederland. My personal weigh-in and weight loss talk.
Tuesday: You Know What Sounds Good Right Now? A post about food!
Wednesday: Leftovers. A day where I could post about anything.
Thursday: No Help Here. Semi-serious weight loss information and advice.
Friday: Pizza Night. Posts about restaurants and eating out.

And the posts were just half of it. I spent just as much, if not more, time visiting other bloggers’ sites. I’d leave comments, talk, engage, and again, just tried to keep building my brand. It was an exciting period, truth be told, and one I’m not likely ever to repeat.

Click here for a sample post. One of the many cool things about my custom theme: the header would change depending on the category of the currently-displayed post. I’m sure no one ever noticed, but I had fun coding it.

Lastly, here’s what readership looked like:

Google Analytics Graph

Though I had a couple large spikes, on average daily visits ran anywhere from 200 to 300 a day. I did my absolute best to keep that number going up, but I just couldn’t budge it.

I do like this next graph because it includes April 1, 2009. For whatever reason my April Fools Day-related post hit something on StumbleUpon, and I got over 6,300 visitors in one day, then over two thousand the next. It was pretty cool having a high traffic blog, even if it only lasted for a blip.

Google Analytics Graph

The Silver Age

screenshot of version 3 of the site

April 2013 to October 2009

To freshen things up a bit I created this particular aberration of a theme. The colors were horrid. The layout, very busy. The main reason for shaking things up was to make the site look more like a “real” blog. The site with the splash page confused people and I thought this would help. The five-days-a-week posting format didn’t change. It was just the layout.

This age came to a close on June 5, 2009 when I said “so long!” for the first time. I didn’t actually leave of course. I called it “summer break” and just posted a few things here and there.

The Renaissance

screenshot of version 4 of the web site

October 2009 to September 2011

After my summer break, I got back to my nice, white, fridge look, ditching that ugly orange thing. I retired my custom newsletter in favor of Feedburner support. Fixed the site’s search function and added the All Posts page.

Content-wise, I decided it was okay to just talk about anything and post more freely. The rigid schedule of The Golden Age was tough and more than anything I just wanted to enjoy blogging. My only real rule at this point is I would post on days beginning with a T.

This was a very memorable period of the blog. See, there was this one time where I . . . uh . . . um . . . well, there was also this other time where . . . hmmm . . . oh! And how could I forget that one post about the . . . uhhhh . . . well, something. But trust me, it was very memorable.

The Artistic Revolution

screenshot of version 5 of the web site

September 2011 to January 2012

I’d been thinking about Shaking Things Up for a few months when a Big Life Event finally pushed me over. The shaking part? Making picture posts. The event? The oldest daughter heading off to college. While I provided photos and graphs in my posts, they were nonetheless very wordy. I was curious what it would be like to write posts heavily supported by artwork.

Hmmm, but what would it look like?

Kids drawings, of course. That’s exactly the kind of artwork that goes on a fridge. So I went offline with real life paper and real life colored pencils and started drawing. The resulting pictures are so childish you might be surprised to know how much time I spent studying kids artwork and refining my style. (I’m not joking.)

I then had to do some major tweaking to my custom theme to make the whole drawings-tacked-to-a-fridge thing work.

And then I actually had to write my first post.

I think start to finish the whole first post (drawing, scanning, storyline, and final assembly) took about twelve hours. Or more. Definitely more labor-intensive than the usual blog post. And, in my opinion, definitely worth it.

This period was brief. Like a long-distance runner putting on an exceptional burst of speed near the end of a race, the few pic-posts I did took it out of me and in early January 2012, I took another blogging break.

The Modern Age

screenshot of version 6 of the web site

April 2012 to Present

A nasty bout of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cut short my blogging hiatus. Through the remainder of 2012, I wrote several cancer-related posts. But by the end of the year, I was all out of steam again. I didn’t actually say it this time, but Blog Retirement Number Three happened with my 2012 Year in Review post. I wasn’t in a very good place. There were only five posts in all of 2013. Strange to think back on a time where I wrote five posts a week.

I posted in bursts throughout 2014 and 2015, “quitting” again most recently on April 20, 2015. This retirement was highly similar to the one in 2012, in that I felt like I’d done everything I could with the blog and really just wanted to focus on my other creative endeavors.

Whelp, that didn’t go as planned. Five months later I resumed blogging and I’ve been posting once a week (each Friday) since then. In my own humble opinion, I think the content has been pretty good. I like the frequency. Overall, it’s actually been going pretty well.

So well, in fact, I don’t even feel like retiring today . . .

The Good News

. . . which is why I’m not. The only thing going away today is Back to the Fridge. What lives on is me: Charlie Hills. I started a new blog today. For the foreseeable future, I plan to continue posting each Friday. Content-wise, the posts will be more or less the same as they have been lately.

Which likely begs the question: why not just keep doing it here? Believe me, I’ve asked myself that a few times. But I weighed the pros and cons, and eventually a coin toss decided it.

Just kidding. I used a Magic Eight Ball instead.

It’s a primarily symbolic move. I find myself at another crossroads. And it’s one of those where I want to break some ties to the past and establish a path for the future. Outwardly, and publicly, I want to keep working on all the same things: writing, music, art. Inwardly, I need a fresh start. And I’d rather not carry around the baggage of the “weight loss blog” forever.

My secondary reason is: simplification. Back to the Fridge isn’t my only blog. I’ve had many over the years and a few are still semi-active even today. But not one of them really represents the Charlie Hills direction, so it made sense to create something brand new and focus all my efforts there.

I hope you’ll come along. I always love the beginning of new things. avatar

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Book Review: WYCWYC

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It’s at last time to talk about the book What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms by Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone. Now wait a sec, Charlie. Didn’t this book come out, like, months ago? Don’t you know you’re supposed to review books right when they come out, if not days […]

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The Quickest Phase

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A Dark and Stormy Night

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Moving is Moving

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New House Problems

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As of Friday, October 30, 2015, we’re now about three hundred and eighty four hours, twelve minutes, and thirty-three man-seconds into this project. Last week, in spite of my better judgment, I decided to talk about it out in the open. I almost didn’t, fearing that whether I talked about the ups or the downs, […]

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Ouch, Part 3

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Ouch, Part 2

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Ouch, Part 1

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Fan Mail 2

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Our Intrepid Explorer

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Important Things

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The Year in Review

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Little One

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I knew that inserting a baby into the marriage would change things. How could it not? Think about it: suddenly you have a new member of the species, barely out of the shrink wrap, now wholly under your care. Imagine the responsibility. Gone were the days where at a moment’s notice we could pack an […]

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Happy Birthday Mom!

September 23rd, 2014

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Best Blog Post Ever

August 11th, 2014

So the other day I was in the shower or driving to work or taking my giraffe for a walk when I had an idea for a blog post. In fact, not just any blog post, but a good one. In fact, not just a good one, but maybe the best one ever. It would […]

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July 21st, 2014

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The Half Million Dollar Blog Post

January 3rd, 2014

As I enter the thirty-sixth year or so of my mid-life crisis, I find myself once again standing at a creative crossroads. I just finished reading this post, where (exactly) two years ago I decided to put Back to the Fridge on hiatus. Before continuing, let me repeat a key part of that sentence. Two […]

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Emotional Problems

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The entirety of this post is a cartoon. Click through to the full post to enjoy. Or not. It’s humor after all, and therefore purely subjective.

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Happy Halloween

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It’s time, once again, for my annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving post. Last year I took the opportunity to catch up on a lifetime’s worth of pumpkin carving. If you’re new here, feel free to go read that post, then come on back. If you’ve already seen all the old crap and are simply waiting for […]

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The Progress Bar

January 3rd, 2012

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Last Minute Shopping

December 19th, 2011

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all over town Not a creature was stirring, except for this clown. “Time to start shopping,” I said with some shame. Why, year after year, is it always the same? “Next year!” I swore, about one year ago. “Christmas Eve will not find me with nothing to show.” “By […]

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That About Sums it Up

November 20th, 2011

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Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2011

Halloween again? Already? Where did the year go?! It seems like only two weeks ago I was making New Year’s Resolutions: Eat Right Exercise Carve a Pumpkin in October Oh, well. One out of three ain’t bad, right? Long-time readers of The Fridge know I like carving pumpkins. My first post on the topic happened […]

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The Rocky Squad

October 17th, 2011

Astute readers of this blog already know that I wrote a book on the general topic of weight loss and my near lifelong preoccupation with it. I self-published Why Your Last Diet Failed You and How This Book Won’t Help You on Your Next One four (four?!) years ago and it did about as well […]

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So Now What?

September 19th, 2011

Once again, I find myself at a crossroads. This isn’t my first time. After all, I’ve been suffering from chronic mid-life crisis since I was twelve years old. You’d think after several decades a body would figure out what he wants to be when he grows up, but apparently it’s not that easy. But before […]

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Life is Change

September 5th, 2011

Post Thumbnail Image

Philosophers, theologians, and scientists alike have all spent thousands of years trying to answer the question, “What is life?” A rock on a path is not alive. A horse running across a field is. A blogger is somewhere in between. But where does one draw the line? Personally, I have a very simple definition: life […]

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Need More Veggies

August 29th, 2011

Post Thumbnail Image

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about weight loss and not a lot of time talking about food, nutrition, and football. Since I don’t really like football (or any sports for that matter) don’t expect the football-related posts to spike any time soon. And since I’m not a nutritionist, I guess […]

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Do You Want What You Want?

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In my copious amounts of free time, one of the things I love to do is to solve the mysteries of the universe and then promptly forget what I came up with. Fortunately, good timing was on my side tonight and I got to jot down my thoughts before my brain cells swapped out this […]

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Harry Potter 7

July 11th, 2011

The seventh and final book. For the first time ever, I purposefully went to one of those midnight bookstore release parties. It was July 21, 2007 (the seventh book was so close to being released 7/7/7!) and I joined throngs of others, both in costume and in street clothes to wait, crammed shoulder to shoulder, […]

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Harry Potter 6

July 4th, 2011

The sixth book came out in 2005. By this time I was finally reading the books as they came out and I had been really looking forward to this one. Not as much as a trip to Long John Silvers, but still a lot. Book Review There will be spoilers here so if you haven’t […]

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Harry Potter 5

June 27th, 2011

The fifth book in the series arrived after a cruel, three-year wait. The previous books all came out a year apart, and many had assumed the rest would follow suit. For eleven-year-olds who took up Harry Potter from the beginning, this was a disappointment, as their lives were now out of sync with Harry’s. For […]

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Harry Potter 4

June 20th, 2011

By July, 2000, I was well-aware of the growing Harry Potter phenomenon, though I was still more than a year away from picking up a book myself. Oddly enough, I just happened to be at a book store the night this book was released, gazed upon the bustling, costumed crowd and thought, “Man, this book […]

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Harry Potter 3

June 13th, 2011

And the story at last begins! For me, the series really didn’t start rolling until this installment. The first book established the characters, setting, and conflict. The second book, development-wise, didn’t really add much to the overall story progression. But now—this is where things really get going. Book Review I did mention that my little […]

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Harry Potter 2

June 6th, 2011

Last week, I kicked off a series of posts where I talk about my highly successful series of books and movies: Harry Potter. That’s right, I did say “my”. You see, the whole thing was my idea. I had it all planned out and at least half of it written in 1989 when an attractive, […]

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Harry Potter 1

May 30th, 2011

The end is near. Harry Potter—love him or hate him—is about to complete his twenty-one year journey, from story inception to final big screen appearance. For those who read the books as they came out, your journey ended July 2007. But for everyone else, the tale comes to a close forty-six short days from today. […]

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Is it About Choice?

February 21st, 2011

I actually started this post back in December. And in some ways, I’ve already written what I’m going to say at least twice before. But a recent chain of events has caused me to give this topic yet another go. It’s all about the fundamental question of “choice.” The first event in this chain happened […]

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Site Hacked

February 18th, 2011

I just realized today that my web hosting account was hacked on (apparently) January 19. Nothing was destroyed or lost, but the script (that just about found its way into every directory of mine) liked to tack on about twenty thousand bytes of spam to the bottom of each page. The pages still looked okay […]

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Two Problems

February 7th, 2011

In my world of software development there’s this interesting little thing called a regular expression. Without going into too much detail, a “regex” is highly structured and very flexible method for finding text that matches a given pattern. At its simplest form, the regex “rib” could be used to positively match the strings “rib”, “ribbon”, […]

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Touching Base

January 21st, 2011

I realize that when a weight loss blogger stops posting, it means s/he has completely gone off the wagon and probably doesn’t know how to break it to his/her readers. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. While things have stagnated a bit in that area, I’m essentially okay. No, the lack of recent posts is […]

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My Favorite Christmas Song

December 17th, 2010

You’d better watch out! You’d better not cry! You’d better not pout! I’m telling you why. It’s time for yummy Chex Mix . . . right now! I’m makin a list, Checkin’ it twice Buyin’ the Corn, The Wheat, and the Rice It’s time for yummy Chex Mix . . . right now! I’ll add […]

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Happy Halloween

November 1st, 2010

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween yesterday. Here at the Fridge Halloween can only mean two things: 1) the candy report, and 2) the pumpkin. First, the candy report. How much did I have? None. Yay me. In fact, total caloric input for the day was just 1770 calories. I’d go eat more but […]

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Male Brain, Female Brain

September 1st, 2010

So last week I happened to mention that my super-duper-high-speed weight loss phase of the diet was over and presented “six days in a row at basically the same weight” as evidence. I thought it was a very straightforward statement, but the ladies did not quite take it as I intended. Paraphrasing several replies: “You […]

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Total Solar Eclipse

April 29th, 2010

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a long time since the continental U.S. has seen a total solar eclipse: February 26, 1979 to be exact. And even then, the greatest point of totality was only visible from Canada. That’s a fairly long dearth, considering the size of this country and how long I’ve been […]

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FitBloggin Recap

March 30th, 2010

The Backstory Back in February of 2009, I received an email from Roni addressed “to my fellow fit bloggers*”. I was one of three recipients and also the reason for the footnote on her salutation, which said, “Yes, Charlie, you’re a fit blogger even if you don’t think you are.” This was over thirteen months […]

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February 11th, 2010

The following broadcast is an encore presentation of Back to the Fridge. Please to enjoy one of the author’s favorites while he keeps working on various synopses. Note: if you’re viewing this in a feed-reader and/or cannot see any images, please click back to the site. The pictures are very important. If, on the other […]

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Exercise Anywhere

January 21st, 2010

Way back at the end of January 2009, I was contacted by NURU asking if I’d do a product review and/or giveaway. Can you imagine? A company trying to promote its products via the blogosphere! I mean, next thing you know people will start selling banner ads on the internet. So I said, “Sure,” most […]

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January 14th, 2010

Way back in my own early days of e-mail, now nigh on two decades ago, I remember receiving an unsolicited, obviously bulk-sent, electronic mail message. I have no idea what it was for but I do know it just made me mad. “How unfair!” I thought. “Someone . . . anyone . . . can […]

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New Decade Resolutions

January 5th, 2010

When the newspaper showed up on the porch last Friday emblazoned with the date January 1, 2010, I have to admit I felt like I’d just emerged from a time machine. 2010? Is that even possible? That can’t be a real date. Real dates, as we all know, start with the number “19”. I might […]

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Christmas Radio

December 17th, 2009

I remember way back in the day hopping in the car, flipping on the radio, and hearing a Christmas song. It was early December and I thought, “Hey cool, something to get me in the mood.” After the song finished another one came on. Then another and another and another. Now, some dozen or so […]

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‘Tis The Season

December 15th, 2009

Somehow–and I honestly have no explanation for this–it’s December fifteenth already. That leaves no doubt: we’re definitely in The Season. And if by “The Season” you think I’m talking about any one of the eighteen or so holidays that happen between October 31 and January 2, you’d better guess again. Nope. It’s Chex Mix Season. […]

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A Glorious Dawn

November 19th, 2009

Two video posts in one week! If you’re thinking this is a blogger’s cop-out because he wants to focus his time on NaNoWriMo, you’re absolutely right. But even if that weren’t the case I would feel compelled to share this with you anyway. If you’re a true geek and don’t exactly consider yourself a spring […]

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Dangerous Foods

November 19th, 2009

While there’s plenty of bad food out there I enjoy eating, most of it is just that: bad. This would include everything from pepperonly pizza to Late Night Taco Doritos to Cheez-Its. These foods all have two things in common: 1) I really, really like them; and 2) if I eat too much of them, […]

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The Cheesiest Bunch

November 17th, 2009

When my oldest daughter Sarah was eight, she read about Kraft’s annual “Blue Box Kid” contest on the back of a mac and cheese box. The basics of the contest went something like this: write a story, create an image, or produce a video proclaiming your undying love for this mass-produced macaroni and cheese food […]

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There’s Still Time!

November 12th, 2009

Today is the 316th day of the year which means there are now fewer than fifty days until that night we leave our friend’s New Year’s Eve party and fall into that hydrangea bush again. What’s worse, this is the absolutely fastest fifty days on the calendar, so the year is, for all intents and […]

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Let’s Dance

November 10th, 2009

While I don’t watch television very much, I’m nonetheless quite aware of two dance-related “reality” shows. Oddly enough, they’d be just the kind of reality show I might try out for in the universe where I’m twenty-five years younger, in great shape, and, well, you know, actually possess the ability to dance. Which I don’t. […]

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Happy Belated Halloween

November 3rd, 2009

Although we’re already a couple of days into November, I can’t let my favorite holiday just come and go without any mention of it whatsoever. That would be like winning a two brazillion dollar lottery and not telling anyone about it. Which I did once, so I’m not about to do that again. I was […]

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Happy Anniversary

October 29th, 2009

Yep, there it is again. Long-time readers will recognize this as the book I’ve been hopelessly hyping for the last . . . wait for it . . . two years. That’s right. This book was officially unleashed on the publishing world exactly two years ago today: October 29, 2007. Happy Anniversary to me! Well, […]

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Movie Review: Where The Wild Things Are

October 27th, 2009

I didn’t get to bed that night until six in the morning. Through a deadly combination of late night gaming and even later night calls from work, I didn’t fall asleep until the gray light of early morn began to appear outside my bedroom window. Fortunately, I still managed to get about five hours in, […]

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Reading Is Fundamental

October 22nd, 2009

I’ve heard that part of being a good writer is also being a good reader. Of course, if you follow that logic (and also happen to be a big fan of Pixar films) you might also conclude that part of being a good chef is also about being a good rat. But hey, some things […]

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Ready For Round Four?

October 13th, 2009

Welcome to Back to the Fridge 4.0. For those of you not keeping score at home, here’s the deal: for the better part of a year, I posted five times a week, then caught a bad case of blogfunk last May and finally took the summer off, more or less. But I’m back! A bit […]

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