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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    "Dear parent, due to increasing budget gaps, we seek additional funding to support your child's educational enrichment programs. This year, instead of asking your children -- and thus, yourself -- to hawk overpriced wrapping paper, high-calorie snack foods, and unwanted knickknacks, we're simply asking you to donate what you're able. Attached is a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing this year's budget, our funding goals, and how we'll use the money."

    This is the sort of letter I'd love to see from my kids' school … but I doubt I ever will. Instead, my kids will come home with catalogues of garbage that no one needs, which we're supposed to foist upon our friends, family, and neighbors. Not only that, they'll be teased with "prize incentives" they can win if only they sell enough of this crap.

    I. Hate. School. Fundraising.

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    Here's what's been revealed so far about season 4 of American Horror Story: it's set in Florida, circa 1952, and centers on a "troupe of curiosities" that arrives at the same time that a dark entity emerges, threatening both townsfolk and circus freaks. The real-life world's smallest woman has been cast, along with returning cast members Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Sarah Paulson. The official description reads: "This is the story of the performers and their desperate journey of survival amid the dying world of the American carny experience."

    We're getting closer to the American Horror Story: Freak Show premiere on October 8, so naturally FX has been rolling out their signature skin-crawling teasers for the show. I can't decide which is my favorite: the guy with the sliced tongue, the three-legged lady, the person trapped in a tiny birdcage, or the SPOOKY CLAWED HAND.

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    Whether you're a Walking Dead comics fan or you only watch the TV adaptation, we can really only know one thing for certain about season 5: people are gonna die. Probably people we care about. Terminus citizens may be cannibals or they may be carrying out creepy medical experiments or maybe both, but based on how season 4 ended and the title of the premiere episode -- "No Sanctuary" -- things are going to stop being polite and start getting seriously real for our survivors when the show comes back on the air in October.

    Since pretty much every Walking Dead actor knows he or she has a limited shelf life, Entertainment Weekly asked the main cast how they'd like to be killed off when their time comes. Their answers range from fun to ... I don't know, possibly a little portentous? Mayyyyybe? And be forewarned, I'm going to refer back to the comics in this post, so stop reading now if you want to avoid all comics spoilers.

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    In the grand tradition of superhero origin stories, Hello Kitty's past is about to be explored in painstaking detail in an upcoming retrospective of Hello Kitty art, merchandise, and fashion at the Japanese American National Museum, which opens in mid-October. We can expect to learn about how she's an enduring manifestation of Japan's culture of cute, known as kawaii, along with examples of her astounding cultural influence since she began life as a character on a coin purse in 1974.

    Oh, and also in preparation for this exhibit, Sanrio -- the Japanese company that designs, licenses, and manufactures Hello Kitty products -- has clarified that Hello Kitty is not a cat.

    Repeat: HELLO KITTY IS NOT A CAT. I know, right? This is like when scientists announced that oh, sorry, the Brontosaurus never even existed, everything you thought you knew is a LIE.

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    Ai Hin, a 6-year-old giant panda living at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center in China, may be the world's smartest panda. In fact, she may be the world's smartest animal period. You're probably thinking that I'm exaggerating, but when's the last time you managed to fool people into giving you a luxury suite and round-the-clock gourmet meals?

    Ai Hin began showing signs of pregnancy a couple months ago, and research officials had been preparing to set up a live feed to broadcast her birth. People were extremely excited, being as how pandas are endangered and famously difficult to breed, but sadly it turns out Ai Hin is a big fat LIAR. That's right, a panda faked her pregnancy in order to get special treatment.

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