Sunday, November 26, 2023

Recent reading: "The Ins-N-Outs of In-N-Out Burger"

 
by Lynsi Snyder
 
It may sound weird (especially if you've never had the pleasure of eating at In-N-Out) but one of the best things about being a Californian - especially in this sorry age of the not-so-Golden State - is the ability to claim the In-N-Out Burger chain as our own. 

Lynsi Snyder had the great fortune to be the only In-N-Out heir born into her generation and after her uncle, father, and grandparents passed away, she inherited the successful and beloved chain while only in her twenties. Now forty-one, she has stepped up and grabbed the baton, continuing the high standards set by previous generations and has led In-N-Out to even greater growth than ever imagined, and without any compromise. After reading this book, I have a great deal of admiration for her. She works hard, she works smart, she holds herself to high standards, and she doesn't let it overwhelm her. If you check out her social media, you'll find someone who is having a blast and living her best life.
 
Lynsi repeatedly praises the In-N-Out workers (known as associates) and the customers, always giving them credit for the continued success of the company. Before I even finished this book, not only was I craving their food, but also found myself wondering why I never applied to work there. My first-ever real job as an unskilled sixteen-year-old was at McDonald's, which is the perfect place for someone unskilled and inexperienced. It was actually pretty good training. But In-N-Out is on another planet in terms of how they train, treat, pay, and promote their associates. The examples of In-N-Out's beyond the call of duty way of doing things are too numerous for a blog post - read the book and learn.

To her credit, Lynsi also addresses some of the issues that have plagued her family, including drugs and abuse, her ill-advised early and unsuccessful marriages, and she does it simply, without apology, and with grace. She is currently in a happy, healthy place, and has become the great leader that In-N-Out needed after losing both members of the second Snyder generation before their time, leaving the company in a potentially vulnerable position. She has also dedicated her company and herself to multiple non-profit organizations that combat against and aid victims of child abuse, substance abuse, and human trafficking.

Snyder has four children of her own and I imagine they are being groomed to continue the glory that is In-N-Out Burger without compromise for generations to come. And that is great news for Californians and fans of great burgers, amazing service, and high quality food. 

From the book:

Together with my team, I began studying our menu on the most intricate level to see if we could improve quality even more, making items better and healthier. We discovered a number of practices we were using were outdated. For instance, we worked with all our bakers to remove calcium propionate (a mold inhibitor) in our buns and replaced it with natural enzymes. With our chilis and pickles, we removed artificial Yellow 5 and replaced the additive with natural turmeric. In our strawberry shake syrup we removed artificial Red 40 and replaced it with natural fruit juice. In our vanilla shake we removed ethyl vanillin and replaced it with natural vanilla. In all our shakes and lemonade we cut out high fructose corn syrup and replaced it with natural sugar.
 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

 

May we all have much to be thankful for, a wonderful day to enjoy it, great people to celebrate it with, and of course, all the yummy food to cap off the day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Story fodder galore!

This popped up on my Facebook feed today: 23 Shocking Secrets Revealed About People After Their Deaths. AKA 23 potential story ideas, right writers? Look at you BuzzFeed, making yourself useful!

Hey horror writers - this one showed up in my inbox this morning: You can win a scholarship to a Horror Writing Retreat in a Haunted French Castle! Talk about ambience:
 
The medieval French castle, Ch√Ęteau Marouatte, where the Horror Retreat will be held, is a 700-year-old castle, hidden deep within ancient woodland, where British and French royalty have also stayed...

What's so haunted about it, you may ask? Well, crystals mysteriously appear in rooms overnight; coloured orbs fly around the interior of certain towers; ghostly faces appear in bathroom mirrors, and the noise of the clanking of chains being dragged across bedroom floors can be heard from time to time... what more do you need to inspire (or terrify!) you, when you're writing a Horror Script?!

Although several rooms are haunted, non-haunted rooms are also available for the faint of heart...
 
It's open to all horror writers regardless of whether you're writing a novel, screenplay, or TV pilot. Make it quick though - they're only taking applications through November 23.
 
Happy Haunting Writing!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Hmmmm...short stories having a moment?

This is the first I've heard of it, but according to Creative Screenwriting it looks like short stories are having their Hollywood moment

According to the article, Verve Talent Agency has recently sold fifteen short stories to producers and studios, some of which resulted in bidding wars. Horror and thrillers seems to be the most in demand. I haven't heard anything about this in the crime/mystery community but it can only be good news for writers.

Some highlights from the article:
  • “It’s almost replacing the spec script, but definitely becoming more sought-after than the spec. To me, the short story has become a real opportunity for writers, novelists, and playwrights, to really make an impact with a different way of showing a story, unlike we’ve seen quite some time,” 
  • The agent compares the excitement of short stories to the explosion of spec script sales during the 80s and 90s. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
  • The key driver of successful short stories “is a matter of finding a story or character we haven’t seen already. It just has to feel unique, special, and different. It has to feel like you’re taking somebody to a place they haven’t seen before,”
Like I said, this is the first I've heard of short stories being a significant conduit to a film deal or sale in recent times, but a lot of people think that the new contracts signed by WGA and SAG-AFTRA will result in studios and producers being less willing to throw millions of dollars into projects, and also that they will be green-lighting a lot fewer projects, preferring to focus on quality rather than quantity. This could also mean they will be looking in new places for material that can be produced for a reasonable cost and again, that could be beneficial to writers looking to move into film and television. I guess we'll find out.
 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Heads up: This is a Toyota family

Just a warning not to misidentify my holidays. 
 

 
 
H/T to shitheadsteve and moistbuddha on IG for the LOLZ.