Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 29

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers. This week we will discuss garage sales, concert etiquette, slapping someone with your penis, and much more. Let's begin!

[Garage Sale]

This weekend my neighborhood held a community wide garage sale. Thinking back, I can't honestly say that I have ever gone to a garage sale before; the idea of someone coming to my house to buy my stuff is not a huge turn on. But the neighborhood loves this annual event, and I am on the board (and have been putting ads on craigslist every day for the last two weeks), so I said "what the hell, I'll do it."

Since we haven't lived in our house too long and don't have kids, our house isn't really filled with too much shit. I don't buy physical music anymore (Amazon and other download sites), I don't buy books anymore (I go to the library), and I don't buy DVDs (Netflix) - but I left a ton of stuff at my parent's house when I moved, so I went over there last weekend looking to cash in on my youth. I took boxes of movies and books home and left it in my garage.

Yesterday morning, I got up at 6 AM, set up tables, and placed all of the stuff I got from my parents (and a few things we deemed we didn't need here) and proceeded to set up shop. The yard sale was slated to start at 8 AM, people started showing up at 7. For the next 7 hours, I stayed outside trying to convince complete strangers (and I will classify them as a unique subset of humanity - more on that) to buy my old junk.

I am sure funnier people than me have made this observation before, but there is a certain breed of people that come to yard sales. Yes, there people who happen upon a yard sale and look around, I am not talking about those people; I am talking about "professional yard-salers". They come very early or very late. They will try to negotiate with you even if you are selling something for a penny. They wear fanny packs and are usually on the older side. My neighbor Tom warned me about them, so I mentally prepared myself.

By 10 AM I knew I was going to end up with boxes of shit that I was going to have to take to Good Will (Allison and I agreed that nothing was coming back in), so I was ready to start giving things away for practically nothing. A woman purchased some of the Twilight series from my neighbor but didn't have the first book, I did (here are my thoughts on Twilight - halfway down the article), and told her to come over. I could tell she was a pro and she started to tell me since it wasn't a hardcover, she would pay no more that $1.00. She kept telling me it was over priced after I told her a few times to name her price (I knew she was going to offer a buck and I was ready to take it). She kept yammering about something and finally said, "I wouldn't pay more than a dollar for this book". I proceeded to reply "then I guess you aren't getting the book - have a nice day lady". I'd rather be out a dollar than to encourage people being a little rude to me on my own property.

By 11:30, we dried up on the customer front, but Allison wanted to hang until the end. For the next 90 minutes we didn't have a soul come by. At 1 PM, I packed everything up and dropped it off at the Good Will in Glassboro. I would much rather let them profit on that stuff. All told, we made about $40.00 for 7 hours of work. Next time, I think I will just donate to Good Will ahead of time and sell food like my immediate neighbor did (sorry Noel, I am stealing your idea next year).

If you decide that this sounds like a good time, check out these tips on how to have a better yard sale: Tinput's Guide to Garage Sales

[Recipe of the Week: The Old Fashioned]

Esquire did a great little write up on how to make an old fashioned. I will write the instructions down, but I suggest you read it there because it may have been a short little note, but it was well done.

Read it here:Esquire: Old Fashioned

Recipe:

Place 1/2 tsp of loose sugar in the bottom of an Old-Fashioned glass.
Add two or three healthy dashes of Angostura bitters and a tsp of water.
Muddle until the sugar is dissolved.
Add three ice cubes to the glass.
Stir.
Add 2 oz straight rye or bourbon whiskey.
Stir again.
Twist a thin-cut swatch of lemon or orange peel over the top.
Add a stirring implement.
Let sit for one minute.


[DIY of the Week: $14 Camera Stabilizer]

If you have watched any of my youtube videos, you know I don't take the best videos, but I think this could help:

From Make:
DIY Video Camera Stabilizer

Not too hard, but not the easiest project either. I will probably do this one in a few weeks, so keep this in mind when I present next week's DIY

[Reblog: Avett Brother's Concert Review]

I just finished this earlier this morning, but I will post here for future reference:
Avett Brothers @ the Trocadero

Bottom line: Concert goers are rude and have no common sense.

[Reblog Topic: The Lombardi Slap]

Earlier this week I posted a note about a term called "The Lombardi Slap". You can read about it here. Since then, I have been doing some digging and I think the term might find it's origins from the Jackass crew. If you look at the video I posted in the link, Steve-O mentions it was a "trick" (I use the term very lightly) they he and Knoxville had come up with a few years earlier. Knowing the Bam lives somewhat close to my area, there may have been a Lombardi that was associated with these maniacs and the term might have come from that association.

I am getting mildly obsessed with this only because how the hell did my last name get associated with a well established "act"? Why would some other dude choose to use another's last name to perform this act? Why wouldn't you call it a Johnson Slap or a Goldberg Slap? Someone has got to get back to me on this.

More to come I am sure..

[Random Video of the Week]

I thought this was really cool and wanted to share:



[Conclusion]

That's all I have for this week, I got a little burnt up yesterday, so I plan on avoiding the sunshine today, watching a few movies and make a pork roast a little later. Hope everyone had a great weekend and as always, don't take shit from anybody. If you aren't reading this blog from it's original destination you are not really reading it.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Concert Review: The Avett Brothers @ The Trocadero

Artist: The Avett Brothers featuring Paleface
Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Venue: The Trocadero - 1003 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pa
Previous Review: Avett Brothers @ Bottle & Cork - 7.10.2008

In my last entertainment reviews, I feel that I have come off overly negative and harsh. In that light, I wanted to begin this review by saying the Avett Brothers sounded great last night. They proved to me once again that they are outstanding and one of the best live acts in the business at the moment. The entire band is full of energy and command outstanding stage presence. I will support this band for a long time and always recommend that people check them out. With that said, I had a miserable experience last night.

The Venue

It has been a long time since I have attended a concert at the Trocadero and I recall getting into a minor incident with a member of semi-boy band (I can't remember their names but it was a twin fronted acted and it wasn't Nelson) the last time I was there. Before we even entered the building, I was turned off: there was a long line to get in. The line moved fast, but we waited a bit to go since the doors opened at 8 PM and the show didn't start until 9 PM. The Trocadero staff insisted on patting everyone down and this "slowed the line down" but when we got to the front the dudes barely checked our pockets. Once we got into the first door, the girls checking the tickets were sporting huge attitude which was just more fuel to the starting fire. We then noticed a huge line to get upstairs (where there was bars and a seating section). We opted to go up there in order to drink and get a better view. The few seats were already taken and the bar area was a sea of people - after spending $5.00 for a plastic cup of lager I lost half of it from people bumping into me (and now I had beer on me). Here is a huge problem for the Troc - you can't see the stage from any of the bars. There is a balcony area behind the seating where the bars are but you can't see the stage because there is a canopy over the seats. I also feel that they planned capacity for the show with that area included so when the show started it was WAY too crowded.

The Opening Act

Paleface started a few minutes after 9 PM. We were still in one of the bars blocked in and wondering what we should do. More people continued into the bar where we were standing and I wanted to get out of there because it was getting really hot. We eventually got down and caught a few songs by Paleface (I think there might be two Paceface acts: One is British and the other one is this duo). From what I saw, Paleface is best describes as a neo-dixie White Stripes. You have a male singer who plays guitar and a female drummer singing backups. Like Meg White, the drummer sang sort of out of tune in an endearing but rattling way. Reviewing Paleface the day after, I am inclined to be less harsh: I was already pissed off and the crowd downstairs was really annoying. They had energy and good stage presence but their songs sounded like a one long continuous hymn. I only heard a few, so I will give them a pass and say I didn't see enough to form an accurate opinion.



The Main Event

There was a 20 minute break between Paleface and The Avetts. During Paleface's set we found a place to stand on the ground level towards the left side of the stage in the back. We were all leaning against the wall and had a decent view of the stage. As the Avetts started to play, more people crowded the side area and it become more cramped and our views blocked. The Avett Brothers came out and sounded strong. Scott Avett broke a banjo string during the first song keeping with the tradition. During the second song, two girls were moving past me like they were going to go to the front. I positioned myself so they can pass but they stayed right in front of me. There were NO space. Even in standing room concert standards, this was very close. The more moronic of the pair proceeded to jump up and down getting her filthy hippie hair all up in my face. My wife shifted so I could get out from behind her (shouldn't a girl care that she is basically grinding on a complete stranger at a fucking dixie concert?). I moved, annoyed, but claiming no harm no foul because I could see and this spot was a little better (I have a general rule not to get close to the stage at standing room only shows because annoying little brats keep pushing their way closer as the show goes on making it hotter and more crowded, so I am happy to stay in the back and listen - but this show I kept getting pushed up).

In my new spot, the little idiot starts to clap at the end of the song, but of course she has to do it jumping up and down and throwing elbows. I let this slide, but as the third song started, she start doing this through the entire song. So now this bitch is hitting me with her elbows in a frantic and constant spasm and is managing to get her dirty hair all over me. I turn around and ask her to stop doing that and she says "I am sorry..." - I start to cool down - "... that you are at a concert and don't like the crowds (or something like that)". I begin to verbally tear her a new asshole. She looks shocked like she didn't know that she was an asshole, her friend pulls her back and I turn around and listen to the show. The side area that we were at was one of the few access points to the stage, so staff and crew (and Paleface too) were going back and forth; the crowd also started pushing forward to get closer to the stage. My friend eventually retreated to the back entrance and we followed shortly. During this time, the Avetts played "Paranoia in B-Flat Major", "Murdered in the City", "Will You Return", and few newer ones - the band threw in new twists and harmonies to the songs which sounded great, but were getting washed out by an asshole who though people paid to hear him sing. When "The Ballad of Love and Hate" finished, Nate said he was ready to go and so was Allison. I danced out the door.



Conclusion

As I said, The Avett Brothers were fantastic, but the crowd and venue killed the show for me. Perhaps the sloppy bitch with dirty hair was right, maybe I don't like crowds; I will have to think about that one. While I reflect, I will tell you that I won't ever see a show at the Troc again and I am seriously rethinking my stance of shows without seats. I am looking forward to hearing the new Avett's album coming out this summer and hopefully seeing them at a show with set seating, until then, I will stay home and enjoy them much more.



Read the blog as it was intended to be read: HERE

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Lombardi Slap?

You have to love the freakin' internet....

Today I was doing a search for my family coat of arms or some form of symbol for the Lombardi sur-name and I see a suggested google search term for "Lombardi Slap". Like a curious fool, I click and see 93,000 hits against the term:

So what exactly is this "Lombardi Slap"? Check out the Urban Dictionary: The Lombardi Slap

I am somewhat amused and a little horrified.

Does anybody know where the hell this came from?

ADDITION: Watch Steve-o from Jackass get the Lombardi Slap from an elephant
Lombardi Slap Elephant Style

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Milestone: 100 posts



Sunday Leftovers Issue #28 was my 100th post on this blog. I didn't realize it until I went in today to fix some grammatical mistakes on the previous post. This wasn't the first blog, but it is my longest running.

It also looks like August 28th will be the 4th anniversary of this esteemed web publication...it seems like only yesterday that I was writing rants about how stupid people are, oh wait... that was yesterday. I guess I will have to come up with something good.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 28

Howdy true be-loggers! Hope everyone is having an outstanding holiday weekend. I have opted to barricade myself inside my home for fear of getting sand stuck in my unmentionables. If you are like me and want to avoid the hordes of beach-zombies, check out Consumer Report's guide to a great "staycation". The extra day off has certainly made me lazy and unmotivated and I hope to pass that feeling on to you, so let's begin:

[Date My Beard Update]


If you have been following the Date My Beard website (datemybeard.com), you have probably noticed that we haven't updated in a few months. That is because Sean shaved his beard. I am sure the lazy bastard will stop shaving once it gets cold, but until then, I wanted to have a logical end for the 15 loyal viewers. I managed to piece together spare footage I have taken knowing this day was coming - it made my wife laugh... check it out:



[Recipe of the Week: Marinade]

Since many of you will be staying home and potentially BBQ'ing, I figured I would share my thoughts on marinade. I think marinade is a necessary evil and while some people think it adds great flavor to meat, I think it takes away in many case.

First things first.... I think standard white vinegar is a terrible idea (I use it to clean). Balsamic can be great it you get a good one that is a little sweet. People also like to use beer as a base: my cousin and I got into this a few weeks ago because I used it in some chili. The end of the conversation had us both agreeing that putting beer in food will make your food bitter, so if you don't want to do that, use white wine.

Personally, red wine is my go-to flavor in many dishes, but as my Uncle Freddy says... it will stain your food. If you want your meat to look natural, red wine isn't the best choice, but if you don't care, I think it adds the best flavor.

With that said....

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Spanish onion diced
3 garlic bulbs pressed or diced (your call)
1 tablespoon of worschire sauce
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder

Whisk together and pour on meat
This will work for fish, chicken, or beef...
FISH: Refrigerate for 2 hours
CHICKEN: 4-6 hours
BEEF: 8 hours - 10 hours

[DIY of the Week: DIY Kayak (Not an easy one)]

I thought this looked cool, but it is very hard. For all those beach people with skills...

DIY Kayak

[Reviews]
This was a slow week; nothing going on in the news that interested me, nothing in life except a long work week, so I am going to wrap with reviews because I have been sitting on my ass the last three days:

*** BOOKS ***

The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer

I don't normally read mafia books. I grew up in South Philadelphia and this shit was in the background of my youth more than I care to rationalize (Joey Merlino lived a few blocks away from me and next door to one of my childhood buddies). Everybody knew somebody, everybody had an opinion. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I have been reading copious amounts of female-written literature. This is fine in reasonable doses, but the tone and ideas all blur together after a while. I needed a shot of testosterone.

Recounting the life of contract killer Richard Kuklinski, this book was a shot of steroids. Author Philip Carlo spared no details in recounting many of the professional and random murders Kuklinski was involved in. Simply put, the man was a dark genius at murdering. It took 30 years for law and the world to find out what the hell was going on. The story was engaging, but my one criticism is that the narrative was written to emulate the " goodfella" speech pattern and it was distracting at times.

If you want nightmares for a few nights, read this book about a real life monster.



*** MOVIES & TV ***

Gonzo

Regular readers will know that I love the work of Hunter S. Thompson. This is yet another documentary about the famed writer. Using much of the same footage from the last one I watched (I forget the name), it features a different set of celebrities recounting their time with Thompson. More screen time is dedicated to his first wife and delves into Hunter's darker impulses more than I have seen in other documentaries.

If you are a Thompson fan or don't know who he is, I would recommend watching this. If you have seen other documentaries, "Gonzo" is the same old shit.

Party Down

I watched the first few episodes of Veronica Mars writer/producer Rob Thomas' new show "Party Down". Its about a L.A. catering company full of acting washouts. Each episode centers around a different event. The idea is brilliant, but the execution is lacking. You want the show to take it to the next level (the workers going off on the people they are serving), and when it finally does it feels forced. At the core, I don't think I care about actors enough to make me keep coming back.

Tokyo Zombie

I heard this was an interesting zombie comedy from Japan. It wasn't. Two morons who love judo end up fighting zombies that rise from a huge dump from the city. Eventually they take over the world and the two idiots keep fighting. The end. It was a little too over the top and one dimensional. Another zombie movie I watched...

America Zombie

This movie goes the opposite direction that Tokyo Zombie; it is a fake documentary about zombies in LA. The premise is that zombies exist and functions on different levels of intellect. Some are the mindless movie ones and others are basically fully functioning. The documentary makers keep going deeper into the lifestyle until they uncover the zombie's "dark secret" (which is fairly obvious). If the movie kept the annoying documentary maker characters out of it, it would be a far more entertaining movie.

I think the zombie genre has hit it's limit.

*** MUSIC ***

Delta Spirit - "Ode to Sunshine": I promised I would check out Delta Spirit's actual album after my review of their performance last week. The album is much better than their live show, but it still is so damn whiny. "Wha wha wha I am in a rock band".

[Conclusion]

That's all I have this week, I plan on enjoying the rest of my lazy Sunday. Next week we will (hopefully) have a review of the Avett Brother's concert that is next Saturday. I am also working on a piece about buying a bass with my buddy Jack but that probably won't be done for a while because we won't pick one out for another month (the process is 90% of the fun!). Hope everyone is having a fun holiday weekend, don't take shit from anybody!

Smell you later,
Joey

PS - Always read the blog at it's original source: JoeyLombardi.com

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Concert Review: The Shins @ The Electric Factory

Performance Date: Saturday, May 16th
Opening Act: Delta Spirit

My wife scored tickets for the Shins after her sister informed her they were coming to town. The show was sold out so we had to get tickets via StubHub, but thankfully we didn't pay much more than street value, which was refreshing.

[Delta Spirit]

I don't know much about Delta Spirit. I had read an article about them in Rolling Stone which proclaimed them the next big thing and I promptly ignored it. The lead singer came out wearing a fedora and I immediately wanted to punch him in the face. This isn't the 90's and you aren't in the Squirrel Nut Zippers. My initial reaction was not changed by the opening song - the singer was just growling and mumbling.

Most of the set was spent with the singer screaming at the top of his lungs and the bass player flailing around the stage. All kidding aside, the band sounded good, but the singer needed to stop with that screaming and moaning shit. Overall, not a pleasant experience. I think these dudes will get better, but I won't be sitting around waiting for it to happen.



If they sounded like this during the concert, it wouldn't have been that bad. But the screaming...

[The Shins]

The Shins sounded great. The band was tight, the sound levels didn't make my head bleed, the lighting was interesting and enhanced the show BUT....

The set list was not put together well. They opted to play several heady, long, slow paced songs that killed the mood in the crowd. Their faster paced songs were far and few between and by that point I was done. I applaud the band for introducing new material and attempting to set a mood, it was just the mood sucked.

The Shins are still a great band, the sounded great, but they need someone paying attention to the pace of their concerts and how the songs translate to a live audience.

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 27

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I hope you aren't too tired of me after the week long blog-stravaganza. With that said, lets DO IT!

[Nashville]

I am not going to get into the whole Nashville trip again. If you want to read about our adventures, you can do so in the four-part series:

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Epilogue

We had a great time and I think Nashville is worth the time to visit.

[Tour De Philly]

Now that the JoeBQ is over (which is more of a private affair anyway), I will be shifting my attention to the big summer event that we have been running the last few years: The Tour De Philly. The tour was created by Tom McCabe in 2004 but he lost interest in organizing it after the 2005 event, and left it to my anal retentive nature to manage.

The tour takes on different vibes every year, but I think this year is going to be an all out celebration of what a great city Philadelphia is. If you are interested in going, you can register at the Tour De Philly website: TDP.lomparty.com. It doesn't cost a dime do the tour since I don't do anything but provide the agenda. We are also offering T-shirts from Cafepress which I am not making any money on, I just thought they would be cool to have (Click Here for the store).

The 5th Annual Tour De Philly is on Saturday July 25th starting around 5 PM. Be sure to check the website for tour agenda and updates. If you are some creepy internet person that wants to kill me, please stay home.

[Recipe of the Week: Chicken Florentine]

I read this recipe on Cleveland.com, I liked the idea, but not all of the ingredients, so I changed some stuff around. To read the original recipe by Barbara Collier, click here for the original recipe

NOTE: Prep this dish the day before and leave in the refrigerator.


INGREDIENTS


1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breast sliced into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
10 slices whole wheat bread, cut into cubes
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

INSTRUCTIONS

Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish. In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add onions; saute 1 minute. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes more, or until cooked through. Season chicken with salt, black pepper and cayenne.

Place layer of bread cubes in bottom of dish. In alternating layers, place chicken, spinach, cheese and bread, ending with sprinkling of bread on top.

In large bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and nutmeg with whisk; pour mixture over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. While oven heats, remove casserole from refrigerator to warm to room temperature.

Put casserole in oven and bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

[DIY of the Week: Turn a Wine Bottle into an Oil Bottle]

Since my father-in-law owns a wine shop, I always like to see what a person can do with corks or old wine bottles. I read about this DIY on Lifehacker but it comes from instructables.com. It is an easy thing to do and the results look very nice.


Turning a Wine Bottle into an Oil Bottle - More DIY How To Projects

(LIFEHACKER REDUX: Perfect Pancake Dispenser)


I noticed this on the Lifehacker site this afternoon and I wanted to share it with everyone:
If your quest for the perfectly-shaped, drip-free pancake has lead you down the dark halls of infomercial madness, take note: all it takes is the re-purposing of a condiment squeeze bottle. This trick would have never worked with the ketchup bottles of yesteryear, no sir. Thankfully, the arms race in the condiments industry to bring you bigger, easier-to-use bottles has crafted the perfect pancake portion tool. Wash out one of those sizable condiment bottles, then refill it with freshly-mixed pancake batter. The huge bottle, coupled with the easy-squeezing goodness, is a great way to deliver pancake batter to a hot griddle with consistent sizing, pour rate, and no drips across the stove top and counters.

Credit: Lifehacker Australia: Click on the link for a good batter recipe

[Movie Review: The Loss of Nameless Things]


I rented a documentary last week called "The Loss of Nameless Things". It is about former playwright Oakley Hall III and the accident that caused massive brain damage that ultimately cost him his intellect and career. It was sitting on my coffee table on Monday while my friend Jack was over and he read the cover. I asked him if he wanted to watch it and he said "Pass - I get the feeling that this is going to be terrible".

I should have listened to Jack's premonition. The documentary interviews Hall's former colleagues and actors under his acting troupe. Simply put, this group of human beings came off like complete and utter wastes of ejaculatory fluid. After his accident, when the poor bastard needed help and support, this self serving group of assholes abandoned him because he couldn't do anything to further their careers.

His family is not much better. After suffering from from what was basically a full frontal lobe lobotomy, his family let the man drift instead of taking him to specialists that could help him with his disability to see how much could be recovered. The man is abandoned by friends, family, a wife, until he finally meets a woman who gets him the treatment he needs.

While I feel sorry for the what became of the man and his talent, a fundamental aspect of the story wasn't addressed. When Oakley Hall III was in his prime, it seems like he was a raging asshole and he never delivered on his promise. Alcohol, drugs, swinging and general verbal and physical abuse seemed to be a part of his daily routine until he fell off a bridge he was straddling because he was drunk.

What a fucking loss!

Someone should make a new documentary about feeding all of these "actors" into a wood chipper.



[Zombie Jaboree?]


Not quite sure what to say about this one...



[Fun Clip of the Week]
Here is a little Japanese kid who can play guitar better than me. By alot.



[Conclusion]

Holy shit it has been a long week! Thanks for reading the blog, I hope you are getting something out of it, I know I am. As always, read the blog at blog.joeylombardi.com. Remember - Don't take shit from anybody. That's all I got this week.

Love,
~ Joey

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nashville: Epilogue

I was going to type this last word about Nashville in the airport or on the plane but then opted against it because it was such a douche-bag writer cliche. I got home an hour ago, and I had to throw out some old food and pick up trash the wind blew on my front door. Now that I am settled, I can do a little more writing.

I said my peace about Nashville as a town in my post yesterday. I wanted to talk a little bit about the people today. Nashville is a very friendly town. The second we arrived, police officers stopped to make sure we knew where we were going and to suggest places to see, most of the bartenders and waiters were friendly and helpful, it was very pleasant.

For the single guys, there are a massive amount of pretty girls in this town (Hi Nate). The number of women strolling around the downtown area was staggering. A guy (like Nate) could really clean up. They weren't just pretty, they were friendly and outgoing (REMEMBER THIS NATE). The guys all sort of looked like normal frat dudes, but friendlier.

I noticed plenty of smokers which made me a sad but I guess that is just a part of rural (and rural-metro) living. I didn't see many of the cliches that you would expect from the South: no strong accents, nobody fit the "redneck" stereotype, people didn't seem any dumber there than here (with one exception which we will get to in the next paragraph). One odd thing I did notice, for such a small city, I don't think people like to walk too much (sounds like Nate's version of Heaven).

Our hotel staff was very nice, but they didn't seem all that bright as a group. When we arrived, I asked our clerk for visitation suggestions, and they were okay but that was about all he knew. I asked about restaurants and he had no idea what I was talking about (famous places in the area). Any time we asked if something was in walking distance the answer was no, but we walked it anyway and it was no more than 8 blocks. I mentioned the situation with the taxi service that they recommended which I choose not to blame them for, but if you know your guests are going to rely on taxi service and going to be shelling out 80 bucks round trip to get somewhere, you might want to suggest renting a car. When I saw new people checking in and asking the same questions and the clerk suggesting people go to SUBWAY around to corner for lunch, I finally had to step in. Nice people but they could help the tourism industry out by just knowing theirsurroundings. But we figured out their limitations pretty quickly and forged our own path so no harm, no foul.

Getting to the airport was no problem this morning and dropping off the car was a breeze. Nashville didn't piss on me on our way out and I appreciated that. Nashville is absolutely a city we would visit again... hopefully we can take some friends and share in the fun.



PS: As always read the blog at it's origin point: Joey's Blog

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nashville Blog: Day 03

Welcome back true be-loggers! Today is my last full day in Nashville (we are leaving tomorrow at 7 AM), my plan is to post the bulk of my thoughts today and perhaps offer a little epilogue tomorrow when we get home. We packed in alot today, so lets get to it. If you are just joining the blog this week and are wondering what I am talking about, here is PART 01 and here is PART 02. Let's begin:

[The Big Bang]

I left you yesterday with Allison and I preparing to go to The Big Band Dueling Piano Bar in downtown Nashville. We were meeting up with my mom's friend's daughter (who moved to Nashville three weeks ago) and her (maybe) boyfriend (didn't get a clarification and we didn't ask). I realized late in the day yesterday that Big Bang was a chain which usually makes me less inclined to visit, but Allison used to frequent a dueling piano bar in Baltimore when she was in college and I thought she would like it. I wasn't sure if the place served food which is why I was doing research online before we left. I didn't get a clear answer but reviews mentioned dinner so I thought we were good to go. When we got there, the place was empty so we settled out on their deck facing Broadway and took in the mayhem below. Our dinner partners informed us that they didn't drink alcohol which in turn, made me feel like an alcoholic asshole, but I got over that quickly and ordered some drinks (in fact, I was drinking when they found us at the bar next door... here's to first impressions!)

As for the dueling pianos... it was fantastic. The players were talented and funny - one dude was BLIND and played awesome. The crowd started to shuffle in and it was clear that this was a bar for drunk girls to go to. I was one of the few men there. NATE IF YOU ARE READING THIS - YOU NEED TO GO TO NASHVILLE. I will make a quick note for anyone going to Big Bang, the food was terrible. Everything was deep fried and in nugget form. After a solid 4 hours we started to look for another place. At first I got the impression we were going to get into a car and go to a coffee house near Vanderbilt which I put the stop to - it was close to midnight, I was looking to wind the night down, not head off in a car and start up again (plus the prospect of being in a place that didn't serve booze turned me off at the time - I wanted a final nite-cap). "Maybe Boyfriend" took this in stride and lead us down an alley into a respectfully dirty looking dive bar. I was into it until I walked in and smelled the smoke. You don't realize how much smoke sucks until you are away from it. It didn't help that "Maybe Boyfriend" enjoyed the cancer sticks and this bar allowed him to partake in his one vice right in front of my face. Add to the situation that we were immediately next to the stage and this crazy loud yet pretty awesome band was blowing my face off. I hung in for three songs and cut out. I felt bad to leave our company, but I had to get the hell out of there.

While walking back we mentioned that we were sort of hungry but sort of not, I suggested a pizza. We ordered from a place called New York Pizza (I know, I know...). It took them 40 minutes to get the pizza over and I almost vomited when I tasted it. They just dumped Italian style seasonings all over it, it had to be a total FU job, because there is no way this was an accident. It was that bad. So if you are in Nashville stay away from:

New York Pizza
2215 Elliston Place
Nashville, TN 37203
WORST PIZZA I HAVE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE

I brushed my teeth and went to bed wondering what I did to piss those people off...

[Hatch Show Print]

Website: Hatchshowprint.com

Over the last few days, we have heard about this awesome printing place that did all of the original posters for the Grand Ole Opry and the artists when they were on tour. The big draw is that this place still operates with wood block printing press which looks awesome. Allison and I took a walk this morning to buy some posters and check out the operation. Of course it decided to rain but we were not deterred.

The press was right on Broadway and looked like it was there for a 100 years because it probably was (or damn close). We picked up some posters and got some ideas to use the service in the future :-)

[WhiteCastle?]

On our way to check out the "True South", we came across a WhiteCastle. Ever since Harold and Kumor, we have wanted to go to a real WC and New Jersey doesn't have one (yes the movie said Cherry Hill had a WhiteCastle, they don't) Even though we knew we were eating lunch, we HAD to eat a real WhiteCastle slider.

I gotta say... The frozen burgers you can get at the store are just as good if not better and the fries suck.

I don't know what they put in those microwavable frozen burgers to make them taste so good, but having had the "real" thing, my mind is blown.

[Bellemead Plantation]


Even though the rain was coming down, Allison and I wanted to do things outdoors today (because we didn't have much of a choice). We read about Bellemead Plantation and decided it would be a nice place to spend the day. After a short drive, we were on the Plantation. We heard there was a restaurant on site and we hoped we could get a seat because we really haven't had anything but bar food or BBQ since we got there. We managed to get a seat with 20 minutes left to spare on lunch seatings. I am so glad we were able to eat there. We had a great southern lunch: Biscuits, Fried Green Tomatoes, home-made cheese and fresh ham sandwich, Buttermilk Fried Chicken (we split all of this and the portions were not out of control thankfully) and we topped it off with a boysenberry tart with fresh ice-cream.

After a heavy lunch we were glad to be able to do a walking tour of the plantation. We signed up for a guided tour and got an educational 45 minute walk-through of the main mansion by an informative older woman named Anna. The Bellemead Plantation was the premiere horse breeding farm in the United States until the 1950's. Almost every championship horse since 1870 can trace it's bloodline to the first stud at Bellemead (which was one of five prize horses given to the US by Europe). We weren't allowed to take pictures in the house, but if you have ever seen antique furniture from the late 1800's you have see what is going on.

Once the house tour was done, we were free to roam the grounds which were massive and beautiful. Yes this plantation was host to slavery and I think it might have partook in what I call 'the revisionist history" that I have seen in Nashville in regards to its involvement in slavery, but we will get to that later. In regards to the plantation and slavery they took pride in mentioning that their slaves were educated since the house hosted so many US and foreign dignitaries. The one remaining slave hut looked downright lovely, but the other five I saw in the pictures seemed to be missing...

Regardless, the Bellemead Plantation was educational, beautiful, and a great way to spend a few hours in Nashville.

[Cheekwood Gardens]


Five minutes down the road from Bellemead, Cheeckwood Gardens resides. If Bellemead was a beautiful girl, this place was the hottest woman on the planet. We arrived at 4 PM and were told we only had a half hour before it closed, so we were rushing through the several garden areas until we reached what is now called the Cheekwood Museum of Art. This massive, beautiful mansion was built on what became the Maxwell House Coffee Fortune. The home and the lands were eventually given over to the state to become a fine arts center. You have to see this place to believe it - the fact that anyone called it home is insane. I have see huge houses before, but nothing like this.

On the way out we checked out more of the gardens. I made a point to see the Japanese garden which didn't look very Japanese to me. Regardless, this place was incredible.

[Passing Thoughts on Nashville]

My opinion of Nashville is that it is a city in transition. It is struggling to come to terms with it's past involvement with slavery (they are softening up the exhibits to slavery, making it seem less harsh, they name streets after Rosa Parks and MLK) while trying to be this clean-cut family friendly country music haven. Even the music scene is shifting as more "mainstream" artists are moving into town and putting their stamp on the future. I think Nashville has the potential and will become much more. But as new sources of interest and income flood the city, it also had an odd influx of poverty.

In the three days I have been here, I have never seen so many homeless people. I am no stranger to the homeless, I do live near and work in Philadelphia, but homeless people are everywhere and there are two very distinct classes. It is clear that the arts community is bringing in a younger, artistic class of homeless that probably pass through for a while doing their music thing (or following a music scene) they reminded me very much of "Phish Heads" or "Dead Heads" (people who follow jam bands around). On every level I viewed these people as harmless and part of the Bohemian vibe the town was generating. But there was another plentiful group of angry older males who were obviously abusing drugs or alcohol. They were on every corner and sleeping in every nook; Did they bother us? No. But the sheer number had me concerned and curious. "Maybe Boyfriend" told me at the Big Band that Nashville is a big train hub and these men ride the rails to whatever their final destination is. My guess is the number of churches in Nashville means there are quite a bit of soup kitchens that will feed them which makes them stay a little longer.

In order for Nashville to become a truly great city, they need to address the homeless situation (and I don't mean making them disappear NYC style). I hope these people get the help they need to get off the streets for good but they don't crack down to the point where the artistic hippie vibe gets crushed.

Overall, Nashville has been a great city and I look forward to the next time we can visit (hopefully with Nate who can take advantage of the copious amounts of friendly girls in this town).

[Conclusion]

We are going to finish off our night with a nice dinner (hopefully) and then check out a few bars and finish the night at Big Bang. We have to be up at 4:30 AM to go home, so it will be an early night. Thanks for reading this week - but remember if you aren't reading at my blog, you are not getting the full experience. Speaking of which... here are some pictures:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Nashville Blog: Day 02

Welcome back true be-loggers. I am not going to waste space and bullshit, lets get right into part two (If you didn't read part one, you can do it here:

[Bluebird Cafe]

To finish off the story of day one, Allison and I took a nap and then ventured to the Bluebird Cafe. The cafe is semi-famous in the music scene as a variety of musical veterans, newcomers, song-writers, famous, and non-famous artists come to try out new material and collaborate with friends. My friend Amber deLaurentis had played there last summer when she did a mini-tour of the area last summer and I made a mental note to check it out and I was sure glad I did.

The place was MUCH smaller than I had expected and the musicians basically sit in the center of the room in a circle and play. I guess there was a bit of a comedy theme last night as musicians Kacey Jones, Bill Floweree, Jesse Goldberg and Jon Mark Stone busted out some very funny jams (it was a unique take on the whole bastard/bitch husband/wife combo). The menu at the Bluebird had asurprising amount of greek influenced dishes which I did not expect, but as I roamed around today, I noticed more similarities. While the menu may have had greek influence, I am going to be honest and say that the meal was not mind blowing. It was solid, but nothing crazy, but honestly, we weren't there for the food.

After the two hour set, I had to call the taxi to come and get us and they were very prompt, so I didn't get a chance to chat with the performers (who apparently stay after to try to sell CDs and bullshit with the crowd - most of whom they already know). The taxi brings me to a little Nashville Travel Tip: Rent a car if you visit. The taxi cost $35.00 one way. Add the $25.00 to get from the airport to the hotel and you are at $100.00 for one day. To compare, we rented a car for the rest of the trip for $120.00 total (including insurance). After getting raped so badly by the taxi service, I went back to the hotel and fell asleep.

[Pancake Pantry]

After I got up this morning, worked out, and showered, Allison and I decided we needed to get a rental car. After we walked a couple of blocks to the rental place we decided to do lunch at the Pancake Pantry. I have been reading about this place for weeks, and I will admit I was concerned that it was going to be all hype. I am happy to report that the food was outstanding. I got sweet potato pancakes and Allison got blueberry. We split an order of "The Grill Cook's Medley" which washash browns, ham, peppers, eggs, and all kinds of goodness.

Fully stuffed, we walked around Vanderbilt University campus shops, bought some books, and then hopped back into the car to go see...

[The Grand Ole' Opry]

Thanks to the Blackberry's GPS system we easily figured out how to get to the Opry Building. One thing about Nashville, you have to take exits to stay on the highway you are on, which is annoying and confusing. That being said, we got there without issue. Before going into the Opry, I had heard Gibson Guitars had an outlet store in the plaza. Well, I was sad to discover it wasn't an outlet so much as it was their "Premire Retail Location"... bottom line - I wasn't saving any money if I wanted to buy a guitar, but I could get free, tax free shipping (which I can do any time). So after wasting time on some excellent 6-strings and watching a mandolin being built, we headed to the Opry. We decided to do another tour against better judgement, but had to kill about 15 minutes, so we took a free tour of the museum. It was pretty good for what it was, and you got an idea of the history involved with the production.

Fifteen minutes later, we started our tour. Similar to the Ryman we looked at alot of freaking dressing rooms, but in this tour we got to see one of the Opry acts practicing for tonight's show and also seeing some of the minor stars going into the building. Overall I got a better vibe from this tour and it was easy to see that there is a community element. One thing I don't like is that the tour guides make it seem like big stars like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson come in and hang out with everybody, and you know that isn't happening, but I guess it makes people think they can run into them at one of the several gift shops.

I don't mean to sound negative, as I actually liked tour and would recommend it, but it sure seems like there are alot of malls, shops, and "retail outlets" swarming around Nashville's history.

[Conclusion]


Ok, I have to get ready to go to "The Big Bang" dueling piano bar... more to come on that later. Check out some pictures!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nashville Blog: Day 01: Part One

Today starts a series of live blogs in Nashville, TN. We had to get up at 4 AM to get to the airport within "the appropriate amount of time" and I am a little tired, but that didn't stop us from hitting the ground running. We arrived in Nashville at 8:30 AM (local time) and easily secured a cab to our hotel. Our room wasn't ready, but the hotel staff was happy to suggest places to kill time, so here is the run down so far:

[The Capital Building]

A few blocks from our hotel, the Tennessee State Capitol Building offered us a chance to kill 35 minutes. The Tennessee Capital building is one of the oldest still in operation today. When we entered, we were greeted by a very friendly state trooper who was quite excited to meet a real "Jersey Italian". The thing that stands out about the building is that it is all stone. ALL STONE. From what I heard from the educational children's tours, there was a massive stone quarry that was used to create most of the historic buildings.

The other "big feature" is that a few people are buried at the site: Samuel Morgan (Chairman of the Building Commission) and William Strickland (the architect). Besides that, the building has too many oil paintings of long dead historical figures and very slippery floors. The building itself is awesome, the stuff inside, not so much.

Moving On...

[The Free Library]

Right across the street from the Capital Building is the Free Library. We didn't go inside, but the exterior courtyard was awesome (check out the pictures below).

[The Ryman]


One of my "must-see" places was the Ryman Auditorium. Home of the famous "Grand Ole Opry" during it's peak, the Ryman now hosts tons of contemporary artists. I was a little shocked when we walked in and was told the walking tour would cost $14.00 per person: it's basically a converted church. We opted for the tour anyway and it was conducted by a gentlemen named Bill who might have taken his job a little too seriously. Bill first took us to the "Johnny & June Cash Dress Room". The room was built in 2003 and Johnny never used it... He proceeded to take a revisionist's approach to Nashville's treatment to the Man in Black (saying how Nashville eventually opened their arms to Johnny again, which wasn't true as stated by the man himself in "Cash" by Johnny Cash) when I corrected him, he got flush and shot me a look, I think I was on his shit list for the rest of the tour.

We saw more dressing rooms that were named after people who never used them and eventually we got to see the stage. I will admit I thought it was awesome to see it from that view, but the tour was a total rip off.

[Jack's BBQ]


We exited the Ryman and Allison noticed a BBQ place, we walked down the famous Ryman alley and entered a room that smelled of charcoal and pork. We ordered up some BBQ pork and Beef Brisket sandwiches. Very good, not mind blowing, but there is a strip of BBQ joints to go....

Okay, I am taking a nap. That's all for now!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 26

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to the 26th issue of Sunday Leftovers. Issue 26 means we are at the halfway mark for volume 01. It figures that we hit a milestone and this is the first time the blog is late...oh well. I actually have alot to get to this week, so let's do it.

[JoeBQ 2009]


Yet another JoeBQ has gone by. My arms are tired. My back is sore. My head aches. My fingers have a million tiny cuts. But as always, I am glad to have hosted the event and bring people together. Leading into Saturday, we were all worried that mother nature wasn't going to cooperate. A ten day stretch of rain had me wondering if this was going to be the first JoeBQ rained out. My family didn't let that happen. Cousin Anthony had a strategy to use tarps. He came over Friday and installed covered under my deck and a retractable system that will probably stay up for the rest of the summer. Thankfully, we didn't need to use it, but I still love the bastard for suggesting it.

Saturday morning was my usually JoeBQ routine. I learned from last year to ask my father to bring the meat home the night before (for those of you that don't know, my father is Philadelphia butcher and sort of the reason we do the JoeBQ), so that cut out a trip to the city in the morning. I also changed bread bakeries: Last year Sarcones didn't have the rolls I needed (and had a typical South Philly service mentality to boot - although they are fantastic), so I didn't want to take the chance and got the bread from Liscios Bakery. They had what I needed (although one of the girls definately inhertied the South Philly attitude) and people really liked the bread, so I will be using them next year. When I got home, I immediately put the pork shoulders on the grill (recipe here) - a quick note, although I cooked it well, my old man suggested another two to three hours on the charcoals to make it more tender. I will heed his advice next time. I cleaned up the house, make a 10 hour music play-list, and waited for the guests to arrive.

The first guests were GG (Game Girl) & Rusty, followed my Magic Nate Wagner (I am trying Magic Nate, I don't know if it will stick), then Kam & Hiro, Taurn & Parul and then I stopped paying attention. I busted out the Chicken first, then the sausage, then I chopped up the pork shoulders, eventually I did the burgers and the steak. We topped out at 38 people this year and I think everyone had a good time.

Later in the night my other cousin Anthony came with his two sons and we played a little beer pong. My cousin is a hard working man and I like the fact that he got to hang out and enjoy himself a little. Unfortunately he didn't leave until midnight and his son had his First Holy Communion Party the next day (I had to hear it from his wife on Sunday morning!).

Everyone took off when the kids did but a few people stayed behind to help clean which is always nice and appreciated. Overall, another great year. Thanks for those that came. Until next year...


(Thanks to Tee "The Official JoeBQ Photographer" Jones for the pictures which I stole again)

[Recipe of the Week: Website?]

In honor of the JoeBQ, I have made a section on the JoeBQ website with all of the recipes featured at the event:

JoeBQ Recipes

Note: If you were there and brought sometime, let us know how to make it! I will put it on the site and you won't become famous!

[DIY of the Week: Windows 7]

If you follow my shared reading RSS Feed from Google Reader (Click Here), you will know the last few weeks I have been very excited for Windows 7. Personally, I thought Vista was a total piece of shit and I am glad to see it go. I have personally contributed to converting dozens of people over to Ubuntu over the last two years. With Windows 7, it might be a game changer.

I have a spare PC under my desk. For modern times, it is very underpowered (1.2 ghz AMD processor, 1 GB Ram, 100 GB Hard Drive, 32 MB All-In-Wonder Video Card, Creative 5.1 Soundblaster). I downloaded the install disk (I waited a few days so I didn't have to fight with the hoards). Microsoft made it easy to get a temp license and I was on my way. The installation was painless. Put the disk in and 40 minutes later it reboots. When the computer came up the network card and sound card drivers weren't recognized. I opened the box to see the make and got the XP drivers off the internet with my other computer. The Creative soundcard was not as easy. It seems that Creative doesn't keep their old drivers on the website anymore or they never wrote a driver for XP (which I find hard to believe since I had XP on there). Either way, I found one on the internet and I am really unsure if I will support Creative at this point since they have such a shitty website and self-support model (I have had issues in the past when I ran my computer repair shop).

My big concern was software. Would it run all of the stuff I like to use? The answer is yes! I put some very old programs and it executed without issue. I was very impressed. For those wondering, so far I am running:

  • Firefox

  • Totally Free Burner

  • GIMP

  • Pidgin

  • Song Bird & WMP 11

  • Picasa

  • Open Office 3.1


I am due to replace ALL of my computer infrastructure at the house this year and I was holding out until Windows 7 came out, if this sneak preview is any indication, it should be a very smooth conversion. As I fool around with it more, I will post my pros and cons about the OS as we count down to its official release.

Good Job Microsoft! (Who knew I would say that)

For all the Open Source Guys... I don't like IE8 as much as Firefox, so they still don't have it all.

[Reviews]

{Restaurants}

Parc
Parc-restaurant.com

I went to Parc Restaurant on Tuesday night with co-workers. It wasn't a planned event (we really wanted to do Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, but that wasn't happening). We walked around until the rain forced us to make a decision and we happened upon Parc. My co-worker Mike said it was a new Stephen Starr restaurant and I was curious if it was closer to Morimoto Stephen Starr or Jones Stephen Starr - especially since it was French Cuisine.

I am happy to report that it was closer to Jones in decor and price but definitely a little more sophisticated. I ordered a braised beef dish and since it was on the drink menu a lovely Absinthe based mixed drink. The food, company, and atmosphere were alll quite nice and I would recommend the establishment for a entry level French meal.

{Movies}

Star Trek:
I went to see Star Trek last night and it was very good. If you saw the previews, you will know there is time travel at play, as a sci-fi/comic geek I am not a big time travel fan as that always means cop-out. The new Star Trek crew didn't completely cop-out but they have used time travel to reset the continuity wheel in order to tell new stories and not be beholden to what happened in the original series. I get why they did it (and it was respectfully done all things considered) but I still think it is an easy way out.

With that said, the movie was excellent. On a whole, I don't love space fiction, but the movie was the right mix of action and space porn. My wife hates space stuff and she really liked it. Who knew Star Trek would be the action movie of the summer so far?

Bad Robot does it again!

[Conclusion]

Sorry I am a day late, but I promise I will make it up to you all with live posts in Nashville starting on Wednesday all week. We are going to soak in the town (with lots of booze) and I am sure there will be plenty of stories to tell. As always, if you are not reading the blog at blog.joeylombardi.com you aren't really reading it. Don't take shit from anybody!

Love,
~ Joey

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Leftovers

Howdy true be-loggers! I am going to delay publishing Sunday Leftovers until tomorrow. I have a splitting headache and I want to devote the proper amount of time to the JoeBQ and the other topics I had in mind this week.

But as a trade off, I will be live blogging in Nashville starting Wednesday every day (assuming the technology is in place), so it will be a content heavy week for you my readers.

Talk to you all tomorrow.

- Joey

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 25

Howdy true-bloggers! Welcome to issue 25 of the Sunday Leftovers. This week we are prepping for an annual tradition in the world of Joey, sharing some reviews, and trying to sell some t-shirts for no profit... Let's do it!

[JoeBQ: Pre-Game]

For those who read this blog and know me personally, I have a yearly event known as the JoeBQ (or The LomBarBQ if you were around for the 2003,2004 seasons). Over the years it has taken on a semi-religious following amongst my friends. Is it the food? Perhaps. My dad gets me great meat that everyone enjoys, but I tend to think of it as a line in the sand for some people - the one event they make sure to make so they can see everyone.

All of the improvements in the yard over the winter in some way lead to this point. I am curious to see how everything and everyone flows. If you are reading this and are saying "THAT ASSHOLE DIDN'T INVITE ME!" Ummm... Sorry, its nothing personal, I just don't have the space (or I just don't know you..Hi Internet!). Looking forward to seeing the many people that are coming and I am hoping the changes we are making go over well and allow me to actually talk to my guests.

If you are coming and want to be one of the cool kids, you can get the official JoeBQ T-Shirt (I am not making a penny on the cafepress shirt, I just thought it would be funny).

JoeBQ Shirt (Men)
JoeBQ Shirt (Women)

[Recipe of the Week: Cool Rice Salad]

Here is a preview of one of the side dishes for next week's JoeBQ

INGREDIENTS:
1 (6 1/4-ounce) package long-grain rice
2 stalks celery
1/2 small green bell pepper
1 small cucumber
2 green onions
1 small tomato
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup corn
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese shredded(optional)

DRESSING
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tbsp. virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tbsp. grated Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Fluff with a fork. Spoon into a large serving bowl; let cool.
2. While the rice is cooking - chop celery, bell pepper, cucumber, green onions, tomato and olives; add to bowl. Mince parsley; add to bowl.
3. Add corn to bowl; mix well.
4. Pour dressing over rice mixture; stir gently. Cover, chill salad until serving time.

Quick, Simple, and Easy - Check back next week as I am going to try to share all of the recipes we feature at the event.

[DIY of the Week: Ubuntu 9.04]

As you know, I am a huge Linux nerd (this blog is usually written on a Linux computer). Last Tuesday, Ubuntu 9.04 came out and as a DIY to all my fellow nerds I am going to share this instruction guide that Forge came up with.

I was going to write my own, but why bother, this one had pictures.

Installing Ubuntu 9.04

Let me know if you have questions, I have three installs in with the new version. It is definitely not as forgiving on the older video cards as it used to be (if you have an ATI card, I suggest skipping this little project) but if you have an old computer that you want to make virtually virus proof, give Ubuntu a try.

[Oddity of the Week]

Quimby The Mouse from This American Life on Vimeo.



[Reviews]

Here are a couple of quick reviews:

Book: T. Boone Pickens - "The First Billion is the Hardest": I think T. Boone Pickens is a brash but pretty intelligent man. While I smell the hint of bullshit in some of his musings, I think the guy is ultimately on the money about the world's impending energy crisis. Reviewing this book, I wish the man talked more about what is to come and less about his history. Make no mistake, this book is an autobiography: Pickens details his youth, his early business success and failures. The final chapters he beings to outline the nightmare my children will be dealing with. Unless we get off of oil, America will become a 2nd class country. The biggest transference of wealth ever is happening right now. America needs to produce its own energy (and I agree that nuclear should be a PART of the overall package). He also outlines how water will be a huge concern and issue in the future (only 3% of the worlds water is drinkable). Bottom line: I think T. Boone has great ideas, I wish he talked about them more in the book.

Movies:

"Paul Blart Mall Cop": This is one of the worst comedies I have ever seen in my life. There really weren't jokes - things just happen. The movie had great potential to piss on the 80's style action movies, instead half way into the movie, it seriously tries to emulate them (not really, but sort of). I liken to when Ben Stiller got all ripped for a series of movies and the jokes stopped being funny because you could tell he was seriously into his body. I suggest passing on this flick.



"The Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter": I was looking forward to this animated companion DVD to the Watchmen. For those of us that read the comic, The Black Freighter was a comic inside a comic. Since that world actually had real super-heroes, pirate comics were the most popular in that world. As the Watchmen story unfolds it is parallelled by the Black Freighter tale. Getting to the DVD, the animation style was very similar to the AEON FLUX animated cartoon aired on MTV in the early 90's (also a terrible live action movie). While the animate was similar in look, it lacked the fluid motion that made AEON FLUX so ground breaking. The story followed the comic faithfully, but I think the production crew lost an opportunity to be ridiculously gory. Lots of shadows and quick cuts instead of bringing the gore in your face. I give this DVD an Average rating.



[Conclusion]

Alright, that is all I have this week, I have to prep for a very long week in the office and pre-cooking for the BBQ. As always, you aren't really reading the blog unless you are at my official blog. Have a great week and don't take shit from anybody!

Love,
~ Joey