Linda Sharps


I live in Eugene, Oregon with my husband and our sons Riley (8) and Dylan (6). Prior to 2010 I spent many years as a software marketer, these days I work from home as a freelance writer. I enjoy high-quality ballpoint pens, exercise-induced endorphins, dark TV dramas, and things that smell like coconut.

Sipping on:

Sugar-Free Red Bull (mmm, chemical-y)

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    Sons of Anarchy gets snubbed at the Emmys every year, but even if the seventh and final season receives zero nominations for best series, acting, or writing, I hope someone creates a brand-new category called "weirdest casting" so SoA can finally take home an award. If I were given unlimited time, access to, and a case of 5-Hour Energy, I couldn't have possibly come up with the names associated with the show lately, which have included Courtney Love (what?), Marilyn Manson (whaaaaaaat?), and now Lea Michele (okay, they're messing with us, right?).

    Lea Michele seems like a particularly eyebrow-raising choice, and it's not clear why the news didn't go public at Comic-Con last week, but Michele herself tweeted the announcement yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure what's more surprising, the character she'll be playing -- or the way she described the show.

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    My oldest son will be 9 years old next month, and I do not suffer from that common motherly state of disbelief that my precious little newborn could possibly be such a big kid. Sure, I get nostalgic over his baby photos and all, but the reality is that it feels pretty much exactly like it's been 9 years. The part I can't wrap my head around is my own age: if I add 9 to my age when I gave birth to him, it would seem that I am officially 40 and change now. What?

    There's no point in wasting too much energy fighting the aging process, since the alternative is, well, DEATH, but that doesn't mean I don't have a few complaints. For instance, here's my list of the most annoying things about being a 40+ mom.

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    As if we all needed yet another reason to be resentful that, instead of attending Comic-Con in San Diego last week, we stayed home and did a crap-ton of laundry (just me? I swear summer laundry is devouring my SOUL), it turns out that HBO released an amazing blooper reel during the Game of Thrones panel on Friday. I would have loved to have seen this in a room full of devoted fans, because I can only assume the reactions were nearly as entertaining as the clip itself, but at least it's been made available via the Internet for our belated viewing pleasure.

    If you're thinking that a blooper reel of one of the most intense, dramatic shows on television would be immeasurably satisfying, you are correct. Tywin Lannister biffing his lines! Daenerys cursing! Cersei comically mugging at the camera! A White Walker falling right the hell off his horse! Oh, this video is a thing of beauty.

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    When I think of musicians known for their raucous live shows that inevitably result in concertgoers getting super wasted, I have to say, Keith Urban does not come to mind. It's true that my standout personal experience with having overindulged waaaaayyyyy too much at a show happened at a Tool concert about 25 years ago, so it's possible I have a misperception that most of the people who consume an irresponsible amount of intoxicants before attending a live event are young and into songs with titles like "Hooker With a Penis," but anyway, my point is, how weird is it that 22 drunk-ass people were hospitalized and more than 50 were taken into police custody at a Keith Urban show on Saturday night?

    The crowd's trashed behavior is also kind of weird -- or maybe ironic? -- given the fact that Urban's a recovering alcoholic. I mean, what is it about a famously sober country singer that compelled these people to be like, LET'S GET SH-TFACED AND GROUP-SING "BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD"?

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    Years ago I was standing at our library's parking payment kiosk and rooting frantically through my purse to find some change for the parking meter when a passing woman stopped and handed me a few quarters. "Here you go," she said cheerfully. Such a small gesture, but I've never forgotten it.

    A tiny act of unexpected kindness has the ability to change the trajectory of your entire day, don't you think? In the spirit of spreading more of those good feelings around, here are 8 under-$10 ways you can easily bring some happiness to a stranger's life (and your own, of course, because making other people happy feels awesome).

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