Serenity Now!: ASJA

Credit: thedailybeast.com

Credit: thedailybeast.com

One of the biggest assets a freelance writer can have is the ability to network — and network well. It seems counter intuitive that a group of people who’ve chosen a career that allows them the luxury of being walled off from throngs of people and possessing complete anonymity, should they desire it, also nearly forces them to schmooze, hustle, haggle and pester their way into serious writing gigs. That’s why freelancers the world round have created conferences! It’s a watering hole for the journalistically bound and a place where no matter how unnatural your networking skills, you’re bound to sync up with someone who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone’s cousin at Simon & Schuster.

Credit: asjamonthly.org

Credit: asjamonthly.org

And it just so happens that one of the biggest conferences, hosted by the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), is but a few months’ away. Beginning on Thursday, April 25 New York City will receive an inordinate influx of writers that have come to hear some of the worlds’ most accomplished writers speak on all things journalism — and did we mention that Demand Media Studios is a sponsor? Oh we forgot? How humble of us!

Click here to check out the schedule, ticket prices and most importantly: the VIP guest list. Whether you want to know how to blog like a pro or land that foreign correspondents gig, this is the place to set your fire to your freelancing career–and years’ slogan just happens to be,”Fire Up Your Writing Career”–So who’s in?!

Let us know: Have you attended a journalism conference? What did you think?

10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You

Name: Gary PattersonGary Patterson

Location: Georgia

Years in the Studio: 1

Sections I write for: Business and Finance

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Watching our TIVO collection of Dr. Who episodes.

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be…

Profitable growth acceleration.

3. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is… dance.

4. The difference between writers and editors is…

Adding the magic pixie dust to entice viewers.

5. If I ruled the world for a day I would…

Absorb the understanding to provide the most value on services I provide others.

6. I couldn’t make it through the day without…my wife.

7. The greatest risk I ever took was…

Leaving my family in the states while I moved overseas to run a Fortune 500 systems pilot project for 3 years.

8. I am saving up for… dream trips to Japan and Australia.

9. What is your theme song for life?

Cats in the Cradle

Credit: theguardian.com

Credit: theguardian.com

10. My favorite movie of all time is… Doctor Zhivago. (Fun fact: Gary is our second contributor to pick this movie. Check out the other Doctor Zhivago fan.)

Tip ‘O the Hat Tuesday: Costume Party Etiquette

Credit: www.flickr.com

Learn from Tori Spelling’s mermaid costume on 90210, make sure you can walk in your costume. Credit: http://www.flickr.com

As we put the finishing touches on our Halloween costumes this week, we are reminded to consider our audience. Synonym writer Kimberly Dyke shares some great tips to avoid costume party faux pas such as: don’t be a party pooper and wear a costume (Even if it just means putting some animal ears on your head, make the effort.), ask if the party is for adults only, and avoid wearing a mask if you want to make new friends. Her article also reminded us that the fitted mermaid costume we had our eye on, while anatomically accurate, wouldn’t allow for basic human needs such as sitting and using the restroom. Check out Costume Party Ettiquette before you leave the house on Thursday.

A Case of the Mondays: Parody for Your Pleasure

Credit: thecinephiliac.com

Credit: thecinephiliac.com

There are a handful of directors whose films have a definitive style, but few possess the quintessential quirkiness that each and every Wes Anderson film does. From the cinematography and costume design to the usual cast of characters and quite unusual soundtracks, Wes Anderson’s flicks have a certain something. And it’s that “certain something” that prompted the SNL cast to produce a parody (Wes Anderson approved, mind you.) for the film, The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders. Whether you love Wes Anderson films, or love to hate them, this satirical spoof is bound to get your goat.

Check it out:

Watercooling: Old dog. New Tricks.

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

It’s difficult leaving your pet each morning. Their eyes are sad, the favorite toy is languishing near precious paws and that lovably communicative tail is in full on wag revolt. Sigh. But alas, that guilt does give way to something else: Curiosity! What do our pups do all dang day?! It’s not an entirely unusual query. After all, didn’t we all spend our childhoods worried that our dolls came alive when we left the house (I don’t know about you, but I even added ramps to my dolls’ shelves to allow them easier dismounts – simply polite, if you ask me.)? Apparently this concern – about the dogs, not the dolls, mind you – is pretty common. So common in fact, that the New York Times published a dossier about the bevy of products designed to entertain (and exercise) our canine companions while we’re out.

It’s about time dogs got included in the monotonous treadmill tradition. Just like at the gym, you can get your dog’s heart rate up with the PetZen Dog Treadmill. It comes in small, medium and large, so any pup can run (relatively) free while you’re away. After a long day at work, if you don’t feel running laps in the park, this dog treadmill might just be for you. Plus, how cute is that doggie bone control panel!

Mental stimulation can be just as important as physical activity. And what better way to get your dog’s attention than – drum roll please – food. Companies like AiKiou and Northmate have made these interactive feeders that make dogs work a bit to get to their kibble. The AiKiou feed looks a bit more difficult, but they both seem to recreate the feeling of foraging through nature to find the food. We like to think of it like doggie Sudoku: frustrating at first, but better for the brain in the long run.

And after returning home, you might not be feeling like your most athletic self, but your friend is still giving you those sad “play with me” eyes. Here are some gadgets to help with this type of guilt:

Credit: New York Times

Credit: New York Times

Every doggie needs a Roomba. Set this Go-Go Dog Pals interactive toy loose to simulate an exciting chase for your dog, especially when you are too tired to throw some pasta in a pot (Take out it is!), let alone a tennis ball. Not only does it resemble a cute little woodchuck creature, but you can operate it with a remote control. Get it going up to 25 mph to feed your dog’s need for speed.

Finally, your evening walk might need a little pick me up in the form of Jock Jams. Enter, the Woofer dog vest. Strap the vest with 30-watt speakers sewn into it on your dog (who should weigh more than 20 pounds mind you), and connect to your phone or MP3 player. Rocking out while you walk will not only make you more popular with your dog, we predict you’ll quickly become the talk of the neighborhood.

By D. Audrey Cash

Are there any exercise toys you use to get your dog running around? Let us know in the comments below.

SERENITY NOW!: Tech tips that will save you time

We all use a ton of technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier. But with all the technology we use (computers, phones, tablets, cameras, lasers, time machines, etc.), we may be losing more time than we think just navigating the devices. Enter NYT personal tech columnist and excitable man David Pogue. He spoke at TED back in February about some simple tricks and shortcuts you should be using. Check out the roughly six minute TED Talk video:

Pogue touches on shortcuts for typing on your computer, using a cellphone, shooting photos and searching on Google. Some of our favorites were: using the space bar to scroll down on your browser, bypassing those pesky answering machines on cell phones (I mean, who needs instructions on how to leave a voice message anymore?), and getting around that annoying state drop down menu on online forms without using a mouse (it’s seriously adding time to our online shopping). We hope you’ll shave a few minutes off your work (and play) time with these gems.

10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You

Name: Becky Bell

Credit: tinyhandsonline.com

Credit: tinyhandsonline.com

Location: North Carolina

Years in the Studio: 3

Sections I write for: Nutrition

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Reading, Scrap-booking, having coffee with a friend or spending time with my family

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be…

Passion-filled, meticulous, satisfying

2. My favorite websites to waste time on are…

Facebook, NFL.com, Pinterest

Credit: uml.edu

Credit: uml.edu

3. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is…

Sing! My husband is an amazing musician and I so badly wish I could sing with him

4. The difference between writers and editors is…

Writers love to originate and create while editors prefer to perfect what has already been created. I like to do both- depending on the mood I am in!

5. If I ruled the world for a day I would…

Demand that everyone treat each other with respect, kindness and generosity! But that’s only if I could actually control the people I ruled…

6. The greatest risk I ever took was… 

Credit: elderscrolls.wikia.com

Credit: elderscrolls.wikia.com

Pursuing a career in nutrition despite the reservations of my friends and family. I had been pursuing an education in math, which would have led me to a field with quite a bit of job security. Instead I have a career that I love and am passionate about with limitless options. And I believe I am making a difference in the lives of others.

7. You’ll catch me saying this phrase far too often …

“you know what I mean?”

8.  I am saving up for…

The chance to finish the basement in our house

Credit: the-mainboard.com

Credit: the-mainboard.com

9. What is your theme song for life?

“Your Grace is Enough” by Chris Tomlin

10. My favorite movie of all time is…

The Legend of Bagger Vance

Tip ‘O the Hat Tuesday: Spooky Slideshows

We’ve had some killer photographers working hard to make festive Halloween craft projects come alive on eHow. As the candy and costumes quickly approach, we wanted to share five of our favorite slideshows that will get you counting down the days to October 31.

Credit: Victor Holguin

Credit: Santy Gibson

Check out how to make these mummified pigs in a blanket, courtesy of photographer Santy Gibson. We won’t look at a hot dog the same way again.

Credit: Tim Kruskamp

Credit: Tim Kruskamp

Photographer Tim Kruskamp teaches us how to look the part for Dia de los Muertos (aka Day of the Dead), the Mexican holiday that celebrates friends and family who have passed.

Credit: Mandy Schaffer

Credit: Mandy Schaffer

Take your carving skills to the next level with this scary pumpkin face tutorial from photographer Mandy Schaffer.

Credit: Leigh Green

Credit: Leigh Green

Photographer Leigh Green shows us how to make these festive skeleton bone cookies that will surely make your Halloween party table a hit. Fun tip about these treats: no cookie cutters required.

Credit: Victor Holguin

Credit: Victor Holguin

Mashed potatoes aren’t just for the Thanksgiving table. Photographer Victor Holguin shows us how to transform the classic into ghoulish goblins (which, incidentally, we think turned out to be pretty adorable).

Want to check out more from these talented DMS photographers? Visit the DMS Photo Lab Tumblr.

Case of the Mondays: Not Your Average Monday

You might have rolled out of bed believing it was just another Monday, but thanks to some international holidays, today can be far more than mundane. Hooray!

Credit: sciencedaily.com

Credit: sciencedaily.com

Those Brits sure know how to have a good time and today, we’re guessing the jolly lot of ’em will be munching on apples. Why? Because today the United Kingdom celebrates “Apple Day”. This holiday is relatively new, only started in 1990, but it’s goal of embracing local diversity (think different varieties of apples) is timeless.

Credit: babble.com

Credit: babble.com

Now here’s a holiday I think we can all agree upon celebrating: International Day of the Nacho. Indulge in the delicacy that is corn chips and melted cheese today because it’s your duty as a citizen of the world.

Grab an apple and plan on hitting up your favorite Mexican haunt tonight!

 

 

 

Watercoolering: Why We’re Happy the Government is Back

Credit: eatocracy.cnn.com

Credit: eatocracy.cnn.com

We are so very excited to be heading into the weekend just as Congress has passed legislation that will reopen the government and avoid default (at least for now). In the spirit of celebration, here are the top five reasons we are glad the United States government is open for business.

Credit: Myplate.gov

Credit: Myplate.gov

5. For selfish reasons, we here at Demand are very happy the many government websites that went black a couple weeks ago are back. Sites like MyPlate.gov, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission are always important for writers and editors to reference, so we are glad they are now functional.

4. Houston, NASA is back. Even though it’s been a while since we landed on the moon, we just didn’t like the idea of 17,000 furloughed science geeks. Spoiler alert: Sandra Bullock couldn’t

have made it home without the technology and support of this government operation (Although, they probably could have been a bit more helpful on the radio. We’re sure that will be fixed now that all the employees are back.)

3. Money, money, money, money… MONEY! The market got a bit of a boost late Wednesday, when the US stock indexes jumped by more than one percent at closing.

2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resumes its seasonal flu program and will also get back on track with investigating disease outbreaks. Boy are we glad those folks are back.

1. Sure, we are stoked that nearly 800,000 government employees are returning to work next week. But we are probably even more excited that about 400 national parks and museums, like California’s Yosemite National Park and the Big Apple’s Statue of Liberty, will open their gates to visitors again. We hated seeing all those barricades and sad little “We’re Closed” signs posted everywhere. We’re sure D.C. is especially excited. Mazel national monuments!