OMC Recommends: Cool stuff we like right now
Panasonic Yeastpro Automatic Breadmaker -- When my mother first gave this to me, I thought "Yeah, right." I really didn't see myself taking the time to make my own bread when the loaves I love are just a few dollars each. Then I actually tried this machine, and I have been using it on a weekly basis ever since. It's super easy to operate, and the results are delicious. It takes four hours to go from ingredients to a loaf, so you have to plan a little bit ahead, but it's worth it. Best of all, the smells are just as heavenly as when you bake bread in the oven. -- Molly Snyder Edler
"Hot Fuzz" -- Months after it swung through the Landmark Theater circuit here in Milwaukee, I finally got around to seeing "Hot Fuzz," a deadpan British police comedy written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright -- who many remember from the hilarious zombie flick of '04, "Shawn of The Dead."
"Hot Fuzz" follows Nicholas Angel (Pegg), the closest thing to a human "Robocop" the streets of London has ever met. Fearing he's making the rest of the squad look bad, Angel's superiors promote him to sheriff of the tiny, rural village of Sandford, where there hasn't been a recorded murder in 20 years.
Of course, things get crazy and this film turns out to be infinitely more action-packed than I ever imagined it to be (think a smarter, satirical and very English "Bad Boys," if you can.) The writing is quick and witty and the cinematography is altogether beautiful, quirky and completely unique. Update your Netflix queues immediately. -- Julie Lawrence
Eyephorics by Italee -- At 2.5 grams of nearly nothing and crystal clear, these glasses are sweet. Need a new pair of specs that will truly stand out? Get to Metro Eye, 301 N. Water St., and check out a pair of 2.5 eyephorics by Italee. Some of the coolest and lightest glasses you'll ever try on, much less own. -- Jeff Sherman
The world's easiest kid's snack -- OK, it's not a formal title. And, there may be less labor-intensive options out there like fruit, carrot sticks and less healthy pre-packaged options. But, my almost 7-year-old was hungry the other day and we didn't have a lot of options, so I grabbed a piece of string cheese (it was a Colby mix, if I recall), rolled it up in a flour tortilla, wrapped it in a paper towel and zapped it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Let's just say it was a big hit. (What child can resist gooey cheese?) The kid asked for another and happily headed out to play. -- Drew Olson
Rice cakes with a teaspoon of peanut butter --- Speaking of snacks, this is one of the easier ones around. Dry rice cakes taste like Styrofoam. A dollop of peanut butter makes them more palatable. -- D.O.
Origami -- Most of my friends pick up their knitting when they want to busy their hands while chatting or watching TV, but I choose the ancient art of origami instead. I'm a self-taught folder who learned via multiple Internet sites (just Google "origami" and pick the Web pages with videos or go to YouTube-- it's much easier to learn via video rather than from a book.) So far, I can make a crane, a crab and a variety of flowers and boxes. Origami is relaxing, rewarding and a great way to stay in the moment. Now, if I could just figure out how to fold that damn unicorn. -- M.E.
MapMyRide.com -- Having recently purchased my first bike in nearly 10 years, I stumbled upon this Web site while trying to find information about local biking trips. Aside from giving users a wide range of existing routes sent in by other bikers, it allows you to plot and map your own route using Google Maps. The maps automatically track your mileage and let you keep track of your own fitness needs, as well. The only downside is that it doesn't identify a lot of the area's major bike paths and parkways, but users can work around that and get a pretty good approximation. There is also a partner site for joggers and runners, www.mapmyrun.com. --Drew Wagner
Walking through hotels when you're not a guest -- I can't quite put my finger on this one, but I just enjoy walking through hotels when I'm not a guest. I like nodding to the greeters and acting like I'm guest. Not sure why, but I do. Maybe it's my decade plus of Downtown dwelling, maybe it's that "undercover rush," or maybe it's just because I can? Again, not sure. But, I like walking through The Pfister, Intercontinental, Residence Inn and other hotels when we are out and about, especially during the colder months. -- J.S.
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