Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 03



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This Sunday truly is a leftover kind of day, as I am sure you have three day old Turkey and stuffing begging to be turning into a nice sandwich. While you are thinking about what to do with your leftovers, you can read about mine: this week we will discuss bass amps, Black Friday, I will show you a monster recipe that you just need to read for yourself and so much more. Let's do this...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Gottfried Heinwein


CREDIT: The Chairs - Charlotte Pipe

[Bass Amp - Part 2]

A few weeks ago, I told you about my experience buying a bass amp that was a total failure. Not to be discouraged (and having great friends who have been looking out for me), I bought a new amp on eBay this week. I never really got into eBay because I got burned in it's early years (more a problem with shipping damage and the headaches that go with it). But many of my musician friends have found great success with it, so I said, what the hell...


My buddy Jack has been scouring the net for me looking for a good deal and turned up on this Hartke 115-C. The reviews all seemed positive, so I threw caution to the wind and put in a bid. This amp retails for $540-600 and my budget was more in the $400.00 range. Jack found this amp for $380.00 (used, but only 3 months old). I ended up paying $420.00 shipped.

Since I got such a good price, I was expecting some issues. Musicians are a crazy lot and get upset over scratches and dings on the amps (guitars I can see getting upset about), so my hope was that the amp was just scratched and dinged. When I got it (in it's original box I might add), I didn't see any damage. Once I got it in my music space, I noticed the pre-amp was loose and needed to be screwed in - took care of that - and then I plugged in... buzz city.

I looked around and noticed the amp was coming apart at the seam at the bottom, this most definitely could be the issue; Jack to the rescue. Jack came over to inspect the amp and deemed the split to be a legit problem (I was thinking it might be superficial). My thoughts turned to returning this thing and flashbacks to 1998 were overwhelming me; Jack knew where my head was at and agreed that at the price point and overall condition of the amp, repair should be the plan of attack. Two wood clamps and some gorilla glue later - the seam is back to it's original position and the buzz seems to be gone.

Assuming no other issues, I am very pleased with my purchase, the fun repair job, and while there were issue with the amp, overall it was a good deal, thus restoring my faith in "eBaying".

[Black Friday]

In the summer, I had decided I was going to start my Christmas shopping early; attempt to find meaningful gifts for the people I was buying for. As the months passed, my imagination faltered and my attention went on to other things. By October, I had little shopping done. It was then that I started reading the Black Friday blogs looking for a killer deal to make up for my lack of imagination. The problem was I didn't see anything outstanding. As the information became more concrete, nothing lept out at me saying "this is a great deal".

By the Wednesday before Black Friday, I was still planning on going out. There were a couple of door busters at Target that would make good gifts if I could get them. I mentioned this thought to my friend who I met out for a drink on Wednesday afternoon, and he warned me - "they probably have 10 of those good items, and they will sell out in 10 minutes". I went home and crunched some numbers - similar items of a better brand - they were maybe 20% more but that was with free shipping and no tax (and probably better quality). I decided to stay home on Friday and clean my garage and see some family.

I got home from my visits at 9 PM and decided to stop in Target to see what was left over. Not much. When I asked the kid who worked in the electronics section how long it took for the item I was interested in to sell out, he said - "15 minutes, and the people were camped out at the door". So glad I stayed home.

[Recipe of the Week: Bacon Cheeseburger Stromboli]

INGREDIENTS

Dough
1 5lb bag of flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons yeast
10 cups of water

2 big mixing bowls

Cheeseburger
3 lbs grated cheddar cheese
3.5 lbs ground beef (80/20 or leaner)
1 lb bacon
2 large chopped onions (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Dough (need to do this first)



1. In a large bowl, dry mix 4 lbs of flour and the 2 tablespoons of salt. (Keep 1 lb of flour in reserve)
2. In another large bowl or small pot, put in 10 cups of tepid water (not too cold, not too hot, but leaning on the warm side). Mix in 5 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar until it is dissolved.
3. Start to mix the yeast/water mixture into the dry mix. Use your hand to mix it all around (clean them first!) - TIP: Put flour on your hands before mixing to prevent sticky fingers.
4. Mix dough until it mixes well. If the mixture is too sticky, add more flour. If it is too dry, add a little more water (better to be dry).
5. Leave the dough for 2 hours to rise. (Keep the room on the warm side).
6. After 2 hours, separate dough into smaller balls (this mixture should yield 8-10 1 lb balls of dough). Allow the dough to rest for another hour.

Meat

1. Add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan and start to cook the bacon (make sure you place the bacon on paper towels to absorb excess grease). As the grease accumulates, put in in a large pot set at medium-low heat.

2. When you have about a half-cup of grease, add the chopped onions. Stir and cover. As you get more grease, add (about 1 cup total).
3. When the onions looks translucent, add the ground beef. Cover the pot. Increase to medium-high heat.

4. When the beef is cooked (about 15-20 minutes), crumble the bacon and add in pot. Drop heat to simmer and allow to blend for 5-10 minutes. Mix well.

5. Grab a dough ball and flour a large clean flat surface. Start to spread out the dough. Momz Lombardi said you don't need a roller, but I used one. When the dough is nice and flat, splash some olive oil and cover the whole dough surface.
6. Throw down the cheese and meat mixture all over. Roll the stromboli. Splash a little more olive oil on the top. Repeat for as many as you are making.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large flat pizza pan.
8. Add the stromboli to the oven and allow to cook for 40 minutes (Until the top has a nice golden brown color).



[DIY of the Week: Wine Bottle Light]

As you know, any time I see a DIY with wine bottles, I always take note because of my in-laws wine shop (they always have extra bottles floating around). This is really cool for the holidays.

See the whole project at Wit & Whistle.


(image credit: Wit & Whistle)

What you need:
1. an empty wine bottle
2. a drill
3. safety glasses and gloves (just in case the bottle breaks)
4. 1/2″ glass drill bit
5. masking tape
6. short strand of Christmas lights (with a plug only on one end)

Directions:
1. Rinse out your wine bottle and remove the labels (if desired).
2. Place a piece of masking tape on the bottle where you want to drill the hole for the cord. The tape keeps the drill bit from slipping.
3. Put on your gloves and goggles and start drilling. (The Wit & Whistle site gives more hints)
4. Once your hole is drilled rinse the glass shavings out of your bottle, and let the bottle dry.
5. Carefully feed the strand of Christmas lights into the hole you drilled.

[Video of the Week]

Ummm... Wow....



[Conclusion]

Are you stuffed yet? I am stuffed, stiff, stifled, and stupefied (yeah, it is time to end this). If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 02



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week I will be sharing my thoughts on the church (again), a recipe for delicious Thanksgiving stuffing, and cute puppies (now would be a good time to cover up Sean). Let's open the fridge and see what's leftover.

[The Back Window]

"There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but where does it lead?"



CREDIT: ?


CREDIT: The Bloodsugars - "The Light at the End of the Tunnel"

[Catholicism]


The Catholic Church announced they are banning Rep. Patrick Kennedy from taking Holy Communion for his support on abortion rights. News flash Catholic Church - Abortion is legal in the United States of America. An elected official is SUPPORTING THE LAW.

Bravo Bishop Tobin: you have succeeded once again in alienating people who somehow still cling on to your obsolete ways of thinking. I am willing to bet that there are many American Catholics (I won't be so bold to say at least 50%) that support abortion since IT'S LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES and hasn't been successfully over-turned. The church says there are 69 million Catholics in the United States (23% of the population). You would think that if all of those people were "good Catholics", there would at least be a well supported bill to get it over-turned.

Should the Catholic Church start banning people from Communion and cutting them off from the Church for other philosophical disagreements? I have extended family who still consider themselves practicing Catholics, but they support abortion, Gays and Lesbians, and acknowledge the rights\existence of other religions. Based on the Catholic law, they are not good Catholics. But local priests have (wisely) turned a blind eye their alternative thinking because they will cause them to loose parishioners and $$$.

I support the Church's hard ass position. It will force people to think about their views vs. the Church's and highlight the fact that you can't just pick and choose beliefs with an organized religious group: you are all in or all out. My wife and I abandoned the Church because of their intolerance to humanity, and I believe every "Catholic" should do the same if they disagree with the Church's stance on an issue (good luck getting them to change their position). You aren't just subscribing to beliefs about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit when you say you are a Catholic, you are buying into all of the political agenda that they claim is in "God's Name".

I sincerely wish Patrick Kennedy luck in this situation and hope he does the right think by telling Bishop Thomas Tobin to fuck off. Kennedy was used as a prop for the Church's lame attempt to get publicity for their agenda - which will ultimately backfire. Good luck in the dark ages assholes.

[Recipe of the Week: Joey's Stuffing]



INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons butter
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
1/2 head celery, diced
1/2 ounce fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1.5 lbs of ground Italian sausage
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large saute pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the ground sausage until brown. Once it is finished, set aside in a bowl (make sure to put some of the grease in the bowl too). Clean the pan.

2. Now in the pan, heat butter until foamy. Add onions and celery and cook until tender but still slightly crisp. Add some salt. Cook until liquid is gone.

3. Add sage, paprika and nutmeg to the pan and cook until spices are fragrant.

4. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the sausage; toss together. Put the stuffing in a baking dish and drizzle chicken stock over. Toss again and season to taste.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the top is brown and crispy.

[DIY of the Week: Wine Totes from Old Clothes]



[Video of the Week]

I was going to show a disturbing video of Tiny Tim, but since I was talking about Religion earlier, I thought I would bust out some science to really drive it all home.



[Shameless Plug]

Not sure if I am jumping the gun on this by announcing it, but who cares. Starting January 24th, 2010, I will be teaching an 8 week class on Web 2.0 and simple internet design. I am very excited about being able to do this class (100% designed by me), so I hope I get students. If you live in the South Jersey area and interested in learning about simple web design, saving money online, and how to protect yourself on the internet - and you aren't really a creepy internet stalker person - you can email me at "blog at joeylombardi.com" and I will give you all the details.

[Conclusion]

Alright, enough venom for one week. If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Concert Review: The Cranberries @ The Electric Factory

Date: November 17th, 2009
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Venue: The Electric Factory
Opening Act: Griffin House

[Opening Act: Griffin House]

I wish I could say something about Griffin House, but the man didn't make much of an impression. He didn't sound terrible and the music was pleasant enough. He just didn't stand out: House sounds like every guy who ever picked up an acoustic guitar and made nice sounds. I will give him marks for attempting to engage the audience and making note that he was a fan of the cranberries when he was a teenager. It was a nice touch. He left the stage in a timely matter, not overstaying his welcome, and that's it.

[Venue Information]

After Griffin House left the stage I remarked to my wife that the sound was very cloudy. It was hard to hear although the volume was fine. It just sounded washed out (music and talking). While that was a big issue, overall we had a good time at the Electric Factory. I have been there in the past and it had been hotter than hell, but it was very comfortable last night.

We ended up in the upper section by the bars, waiting for friends. I scouted the area and picked out a spot that gave us a clear view of the stage. We were close to the security guard: I mention this because the guy was EXCELLENT. Our clear view depended on people not standing in a restricted area; at another show, the guards would just let them creep over, but this guy was on the ball - ensuring our awesome view. On top of that, at one point in the night he gave my wife a stool to sit on (completely unprompted). He didn't yell at people - he was polite but stern and he made my night way more enjoyable. On our way out I hooked him up with a tip because he restored my faith in standing room shows (positive reinforcement!). This guy was a total asset to the Electric Factory.

[The Cranberries]

The Cranberries came out very quickly (no 45 minute wait between sets). They began the show with a tune I recalled, but have no idea what the name was. When Dolores O'Riordan pointed the mic at the audience to sing, I realized that I really don't know many Cranberries songs besides "Linger", "Ode to My Family", and "Zombie".

Luckily for me, the band wasn't stingy with their known songs. They mixed up the set well between slower and more rocking tunes. O'Riordan jumped and shimmed across the stage like a girl half her age (she is almost 40). Her voice sounded great (I noticed she was using an echo effect for many of the songs, which sounded cool), and she made an effort to connect with the Philadelphia crowd; I think she has family in the city but I couldn't make out what she was saying. Good amount of chatter, but not too much.

The band sounded great, they obviously knew their way around the songs. Dolores played a few tunes from her solo album and the band provided back up. The new material sounded good, but not mind blowing. I decided once they played "Zombie" I was going to leave and beat the crowd out. Before we left, we heard an excellent version of "Salvation" - I had completely forgotten that song. Soon enough "Zombie" was played and we said good night to our friends and left.

[Conclusion]

I had an excellent time at the show: The band sounded great, the employees at the venue exceeded their job function to enhance my concert going experience, and I got home a decent time... which is good because I had to cancel my day off today. I will leave you as I left the venue last night:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goodbye Drexel Shaft

I am a proud graduate of Drexel University (Class of 2002). For those who have been students of the fine institution surely know a particular eye-sore in the university skyline affectionately dubbed "The Drexel Shaft". See picture (taken from my own collection):



The shaft was a physical representation (in ugliness) of the administrative nightmare that many students had to deal with - specifically when it came to their financial aide packages, add/drop classes or the computer systems for the co-op process. The first three years of my college career were a nightmare because of these issues. I can say with a degree of certainty that there was a minor improvement by the time I had graduated and can only assume there has been continued improvement.

Drexel has certainly done a great deal to improve the look of the campus and to increase enrollment. To that point, the University has finally managed to do away with the physical symbol of the student's dissatisfaction:



Surprisingly, this demolition was not only covered by local news outlets such as Philebrity, but also on a global nerd blog Boing Boing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Allison's 29th Birthday

Over the weekend, our friends gathered to celebrate Allison's (and her twin sister Andrea's) birthday. Since we frequented a few new establishments, I figured I would roll it all together in a blog post.

[Jose Pistolas]

As usual, we started our night with Jose Pistolas. I told everyone to meet us there between 6:30 PM and 8 PM. The bar had a few specials on the menu and I was very pleased with their new beef brisket sandwich (I know the cook does a great job with slow cooked meat and doesn't take any short cuts). I was sort of hopping that they would have Troegs Mad Elf on tap, but not yet. I know I am repeating myself, but I really do love this bar. We had a section to ourselves, the food is always good, the drinks are always interesting, and the bartenders are good people. By 8:00, the whole crew had assembled: Nate, Theresa, Sean, Kamran, Hiro, and Tee. We would be meeting Andrea at the next bar and it was time to go.

[Jolly's Piano Bar]

Thankfully, it was a warm and dry night for November which made the 8 block walk to Jolly's Piano Bar pleasant. Allison had mentioned this place a few weeks ago because she read an article about their grand opening - it sounded like a fun place to bring girls on their birthday. When we arrived, I was immediately troubled about how narrow the building was. When we walked in, I was shocked by how many people were packed into this place.

The sound was terrible - the pianos were packed in the back section of the bar and there was very little seating. The sound coming from the pianos and their speaker system were conflicting with each other, so the music - sitting at the bar - sounded distorted. I had called a few days earlier and spoke to a gentlemen about bringing a large party into the bar; he said it might be a little tight be we would make do. He was so wrong. After 15 minutes, Sean and I took a walk to scout other bars in the area (my sister in law requested we stay close to where she parked her car - which in retrospect should have been a non-issue since I knew I was going to walk her back anyway).

We covered a few blocks in a circle and identified bars that could handle our group. We decided we should attempt a Sushi/Saki bar called Fuji Mountain.

[Fuji Mountain]

Sean and I were informed that this place had 4 floors of bars and it didn't look all that busy. Perfect. We ran back to Jollys to give the group a choice. They agreed. We walked into Fuji Mountain and immediately walked up the stairs. We found an empty lounge with karaoke equipment. I knew this was too good to be true, so I went back down to find a manager. The room was booked for the night.

The manager told me he could get us a table in 20 minutes. The group came back down and sat at the sushi bar. We attempted to order drinks and we were told we would have to do that at the bar upstairs which was crowded with a private party (of squids). I started getting pissed off and went outside with Kamran (all of the bars were super hot - I guess since the weather was so unexpectedly nice, some places might have had the heat on). While outside, we were making faces at the group inside (they were sitting at the window). A customer walked out of the restaurant and accused me of urinating on the building. Since I wasn't (which was quite clear - since my penis wasn't exposed), I quickly went on the offensive and knocked her off of her high horse. He husband looked appropriately embarrassed for her.

Inside, the group was still without drink and we were not at a table where we could order. It was time to abort this plan. I thanked the manager for his effort and we left.

[Devil's Alley]

We walked two blocks down to Devil's Alley which looked like it had enough space. By this point Theresa had invited a few friends to join us so we had to snag a few more tables. Not a problem at this place. Long story short - our waitress was terrible. She managed to bring two rounds of drinks in the 90 minutes we were there. Nate and I had to go back and forth to the bar to get drinks.

By this point, Allison had her fill of drinking (she attempted to take down Jose's beef brisket sandwich all by herself and couldn't handle it, that ruined her for the night), her sister was getting ready to go home, and the rest of the crew looked like they could stay or go. After walking Andrea back to her car, Nate and I decided to cut our loses at Devil's Alley and head home to finish drinking there. Sean opted to join us since he was celebrating his announcement with Theresa.

On the train, Allison and I were hoping we would run into the crazy law clerk who we had run into a few times before, but alas we did not see him on this evening. We ended the night watching Crank 2, all of us trying to not fall asleep on the couch.

I felt that this night was a bit of a cluster-fuck and since I planned it, it is on my shoulders - I am going to have to do better next year. But I appreciate every coming out to help me celebrate my wife and Andrea's birthdays. I am reviewing the tape and I will bring my A-game next time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 01



Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to Volume 2 of Sunday Leftovers. As we continue into this new volume, I will introduce some new features that are less analytical (more creative), but sadly not this week for reasons I will explain later. Let's open up the fridge and see what's left over.

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Grafik Magazine


CREDIT: The Male Nurse

[Recipe of the Week: Butterscotch & Whiskey Cookie Bar]

Recipe from: Frites and Fries (this girl is a food photographer - I like her style)

For a 9” square pan:

1 c. (generous amount) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
1/4 c. whiskey

Preheat the oven to 350F.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and light brown sugar together.
2. In another small bowl, whisk the butter, milk, vanilla, and egg.
3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry batter.
4. Add in the whiskey and then fold in the butterscotch chips.
5. Pour the batter into a greased 9” square pan.
(The batter may seem dry because it doesn’t spread across the pan easily; use a spatula to cover the entire pan with the cookie batter.)
6. Bake for about 20 minutes; use a toothpick to test the center. The toothpick should not be completely clean but with very small bits of cookie dough on it.

[DIY of the Week: Bottle Cap Table]


I have actually been saving bottle caps to do this project. I don't have enough yet, but I when I saw this DIY, I wanted to share it.


Bottle Cap Table with Poured Resin Surface - More DIY How To Projects

[Deep Review: John Mayer Battle Studies]

I don't hide that I am a John Mayer fan, and I have been looking forward to this album coming out. Mayer allowed Rhapsody to stream it a week before the release. Here is my review:

1. Heartbreak Warfare: The song has an interesting back beat, it is clear that Mayer has been focusing on his production abilities and is intent on adding multi-layers. While I am getting a complex sound, the song is lacking Mayer's excellent guitar playing and the lyrics are weak.



2. All We Ever Do is Say Goodbye: John is playing the victim in this weepy acoustic sob story. The song is overproduced and aimless.

3. Half of my Heart: Very strong Fleetwood Mac influence in this song which I like (because I don't have to listen to Stevie Nicks). One of the strongest tracks on the album if not THE strongest.



4. Who Says: I agree with the criticism that the song sounds too similar to "Stop this Train" from his last album. I appreciate Mayer not being afraid to admit he is an asshole with women and just wanting to do what he wants. I think the song would have been better with more aggressive tones, but maybe it would have veered into the territory of cock-rock ala Nickleback.



5. Perfectly Lonely: Mayer's guitar is back for this song, it's a shame his brain wasn't. I tend to appreciate Mayer's over-thinking when it comes to his lyrics. He is phoning it in for this song... but the guitar sounds good.

6. Assassins: This song seems to be the most complete thought on the album. If we call Battle Studies a concept album, this song shows the most innovation musically while staying within the parameters of "break-up songs" concept.

7. Crossroads: Totally unnecessary and completely unwelcome cover. I get that Mayer wants to be considered a guitar god, but he doesn't need to follow in every footstep as Clapton, SRV, and B.B. King. The cover itself is muddy and murky which isn't Mayer's sound either. Why John?

8. War of my Life: Overall one of the better efforts. Nice hook and chorus.

9. Edge of Desire: Another slow, weepy song. The guitar riff is interesting, but the song just drags on. Eventually Mayer builds to a decent solo, but it is very "arena rock" circa 1985.

10. Do you know me: Interesting acoustic riff driving the song. The theme and tone are the same. This is song #10, the whole impact is washed out by the previous 9 songs. The song feels like an interlude, it would be better in the middle of the album.

11. Friends, Lovers, or Nothing: Big guitar, sweeping chorus, thematically wrapping up the album... still leaving me flat.

I appreciate Mayer's attempt at doing a concept album and sticking to one theme, but the entire album feels restrained and phoned in. While his production increased, the things that make him appealing to me dwindled. Less focus on the guitar and on thoughtful lyrics. I liked 2.5 songs out of 11 and any way I look at it, it is a failing grade. I still think the guy is an excellent musician but his head was in the wrong place for this project.


[Video of the Week]

In honor of my wife's 29th Birthday...

video

[Conclusion]

DC killed my favorite comic book character this week, but I suspect it won't take. Regardless I am bummed out.


It has been a very busy work week, so sorry if the content is a little light. I didn't read anything that fired me up (with the exception being my Storm Chasers rant). If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Storm Chasers

As I sit here attempting to recovery 30 GB of pictures off of my cousin's busted computer, I am watching Storm Chasers. Storm Chasers is apparently a series about a group of men that run around attempting to film and gather data about really dangerous storms.

While doing this, they run around very excited shouting and screaming about how "awesome" this potentially life threatening storm is. As the storm forms in a residential neighborhood, you can see cars of people trying to escape with whatever possessions they can strap to the top of their cars. Yet the "Storm Chasers" are driving directly at the storm. Stopping at the side of the road to use their radar and take more film.

It must be exciting for these people to film wind blowing over people's homes, communities, and memories. It's great that these people manage to edit this show together to make it seem like these assholes are "extreme danger junkies".

Their lingo is awful, their attitude is awful, and the show is awful. I hope that tornado catches them; I hope they get ripped from the car, vaulted directly up the ass of a large cow and they suffer a very smelly suffocating death. AND I hope that somebody films their stinky death - it would make for great television.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 52

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to the 52nd issue of Sunday Leftovers. That's right ladies and gentlemen: I have managed to go one whole year publishing this series and achieving my goal of posting at least once a week on this site. I want to thank you all for reading V1. Enough self-congratulation, let's open up the fridge and see what is left over...

[The Back Window]



CREDIT: Wendy Ding (?)


CREDIT: Jookabox - You Cried Me

[The Pacific Garbage Vortex]

In the beginning of this series I mentioned my concern about the amount of plastic in the ocean, this is a follow-up to that thought process.

The last few months I have been reading a great deal about what scientists are calling the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch". As "industrialized" and "civilized" cultures struggle with waste management, we seem to be taking the easy way out by dumping all of our trash and shit (literal shit in this case) into the ocean. Western Coast Cities/Countries and the Asian-Pac nations' trash is entering the sea and is swept up in a "swirling vortex" that has been named the North Pacific Gyre.



Basically, all of our trash is getting sucked into the vortex in a massive area of ocean between Japan and California (about twice the size of Texas). A good portion of this trash is non-biodegradable plastic. Plastic does not break down: at a molecular level, plastic is still plastic. If by some miracle it is introduced to an element that breaks it down, it releases toxins like formaldehyde which are linked to a few different kinds of cancer. You are probably saying "well it's a good thing that plastic isn't breaking down in the water". You might be right, except that animals are eating the plastic.

Assuming the animals don't choke on the item they are eating, they will begin to accumulate plastics in their stomachs becoming heavier (since it isn't getting processed - it stays exactly as it was when it was consumed). Eventually the animals become immobilized and die or their stomachs will be so full of plastic that they starve to death because actual food doesn't fit anymore. The ocean food chain is getting wiped out at an alarming rate.

As these animals become more lethargic, they are easier to catch and bigger animals eat the little ones and plastic is introduced into another, bigger food chain. As it stands, an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed each year due to plastic debris.



So you may be wondering "how can we fix this". The most probably answer is... we can't. There are ships that literally scoop up the plastic that is floating to the top in the gyre , but that is the tip of the proverbial plastic iceberg. As plastic floats around in the ocean, it breaks part into tiny sand-like speckles. These speckles are sitting all over the ocean floor moving around the entire planet as we speak. We have a plastic ocean and there is no way to fix that.

The only thing we can do to improve (not correct) the situation is to stop dumping more shit into the ocean. This will stop the animals from eating whole pieces of plastic that immediately kills them vs. long term exposure to the micro-plastics. I will leave you with this truth - everything on this planet is soon going to be on a hardcore plastic diet - like it or not.

Click here for more on the garbage patch.

[Recipe of the week: Chicken Enchiladas]

Credit: Norecipes.com (check out the link there are awesome pictures)

This should make about 10 enchiladas (at least it isn't fish!)

UPDATE - Here's a picture from about 20 minutes ago:


INGREDIENTS:

Chicken
1.5 lbs chicken breasts (or tenders)
2 qts water
2 Tbs salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 bay leaf


Enchilada sauce
5 Ancho chilies
5 Guajillo chilies
1 large onion
3 large cloves garlic
2 Tbs oil
15 oz can tomato sauce (pureed tomatoes)
2C water
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Meican oregano

1/2 C crumbled queso fresco


Wash the chicken breasts and trim any fat, skin or tendon from the meat. Heat the water, salt, cumin, oregano and bay leaf to a boil. Add the chicken and return to a boil. Cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. When it’s done, strain the chicken and shred.


For the enchilada sauce, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the chilies with oil, place on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant (about 7 minutes), be careful not to burn them or they will be bitter. When they’re done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool off enough to touch. Tear the stems off and remove all the seeds. Boil some water. Soak the roasted chilies in boiling water until re-hydrated, about 45 minutes.

In a food processor, puree the onions and garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the pureed onion and garlic until reduced down to about 1/4 of the original volume and it’s nice and caramelized. This will take 20-30 minutes, but it’s where a lot of the flavor comes from so it’s worth the wait.


When the chiles are re hydrated, add them to the food processor and blitz until pureed. Add this to the caramelized onions, then add the tomato sauce, water, sugar, salt, cumin and oregano. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the enchilada sauce has thickened and the flavors have had a chance to meld. Pass the sauce through a mesh sieve to remove the chili skins and mix about a 1/3 of the strained sauce with the chicken.


Heat about 1/4″ of oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas. They should heat through and get soft but be careful not to get them crisp. Drain the on paper towels and pat off any excess oil.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put a couple spoonfuls of chicken into each tortilla and roll. In a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish, lay each enchilada down with the seam side down. Cover with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the queso fresco on top. Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.


ANNOUNCEMENT


As part of the Sunday Leftovers anniversary, I am pleased to introduce a new addition of the "Joey Network": Recipes.Joeylombardi.com. Any recipe that has appeared on Sunday Leftovers can now be found on a search-able (although the search function isn't working at the moment) blog. I hope you use and enjoy it.

[DIY of the Week: Ikea Window Seat]


IKEA Hack - More DIY How To Projects

[Housekeeping: Removing Old Websites]

For those who have been following me for a while, you know I tend to purchase domains on a whim and keep them well past their intended purpose. There were several websites that have reached their expiration points and I want to announce the formal decommissioning of the following "Joey Network" websites:

www.computerjoey.com
www.lomparty.com
blog.lomparty.com
halloween.lomparty.com

Computerjoey.com and Lomparty.com will forward to my main site - JoeyLombardi.com. I have also dissolved any blogs associated with those sites. I was also going to decommission joeyandallison.com but I am pleased to announce that my wife has taken over the domain and will operate it as a blog. I am interested to see what she does, so give her a visit and be kind while she comes into her own.

[Music Reviews]

NOTE: I think I will skip the video of the week since you are getting 4 in this section....

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

The Avett Brothers have been a favorite of mine for the last few years. Their folk-dixie-rock combination makes for outstanding music and live performances. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of their new material when they played Philadelphia in May. At the time, I thought the songs sounded out of place in their set, but were welcome due to their upbeat tempos. Months later, I have been able to listen to the final version of those songs....

"I and Love and You" is the Avett's first "big time" record. Hooking up with Rick Rubin, the band has not abandoned their country roots, and in fact presented a somewhat somber and restrained album. While I have no issue with "sad bastard" music, the up-tempo songs that I heard from the concert in May don't seem to mix well with the rest of the album and in my opinion should have been reserved for a project of similar material.

Stand alone, the songs are beautiful. Together - they have me scratching me head. If you are part of the cool kids and buy your music on iTunes (and don't listen to the whole album) you will think I am an nuts for being negative and maybe I am. I still love the Avetts and think they are fulfilling their promise of being a truly great American band but this recent effort has room for improvement. Here is my favorite song from the album live on Craig Ferguson:



Tegan and Sara - Sainthood

I was introduced to Tegan and Sara via the "Veronica Mars Season 1 soundtrack" and was really impressed. I immediately went out and found their other albums and enjoyed them (I got alot of shit about it too). I like their pop-punk sound and love their harmonies (being twins - they sound almost alike but not exactly). Needless to say, I was excited for their newest effort - Sainthood. After repeated playbacks, I have to report that I am underwhelmed.

The girls scaled back on their harmonies and seemed to focus on their own individual songs. Since I wasn't expecting it, I feel like something is missing. The tone of the overall album is somewhat darker (or as dark as a Tegan and Sara album can be) which in my opinion doesn't compliment their "core sound". I think that I need to spend more time with Sainthood because I think there might be more to it. Will dig deeper and let you all know if I change my mind.



Gin Wigmore - Holy Smoke

I mentioned on this blog a few months ago that my favorite backing band "The Cardinals" (Ryan Adam's band for the last 4 years) was working with an Australian singer named Gin Wigmore on her latest CD. That CD was released in America a few weeks ago. Bottom line, I don't really hear the Cardinal's input anywhere in the songs. I was really looking forward to hearing Jon Graboff's pedal steel, but it was mostly (if not completely) absent.

Wigmore has an interesting vocal presence and presents herself to be somewhat deeper than most of the pretty blonds making music today. I am cutting the girl some slack because the music is decent and she has good taste in back-up musicians but she should have let them have more input in the end product.



Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are (Soundtrack)

As a fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I was interested in hearing what Karen O would do for a kid's movie soundtrack. Known for her frantic and angry lyrics, Karen O presented a very different side to her musical persona. Writing from the perspective of the movie's lead character Max, the soundtrack follows the beats of the movie's plot. It is an excellent example of character based writing and incorporating music into a movie.

Saying all of that, I can't listen to the soundtrack. I am deeply impressed with the effort, I am just not into the songs. I think this is a great CD for kids, but I can't see myself listening to this unless I am babysitting. But I think that's okay: I love the Garfield Halloween special and all of those songs, but I would NEVER listen to them outside of watching the TV special, even though they are hold a special place in my childhood. I can see this soundtrack holding a special place in a 8 year old's heart; and that kid could do alot worse than having Karen O residing in their chest cavity.



[Conclusion]

I know I got pretty heavy on you this week; it's a hell of a way to end this volume of Sunday Leftovers. Don't worry: next week we will start V2 and I will try not to be too harsh (I make no promises). In case you were wondering, Sunday Leftovers Issue 15 was the most popular of the series this year. I suspect it was due to the mention of a certain deadbeat photographer (more to come on that story BTW).

I sincerely want to thank you for reading this blog over the last year. I have regular visitors from all over the world and that fact astounds and humbles me. Every time I see a new spot on the world map shaded in, it brings a smile to my face and I hope I do the same for you (when I am trying). If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 01: Issue 51

Howdy true be-loggers! Welcome to Issue #51. One more week to go and I will have completed my goal of writing at least once a week on the blog (actually I think I have done a lot better than that). This week we will discuss music stores, songs about whores, and so much more. Let's open the fridge and see what's left over...

[The Back Window]

I figured I would put the Back Window feature first so you can listen to the song while you read... This is a sequel to last week's Back Window wrapping up that little idea thread.


CREDIT: Ryo Tomo - Love and Heartbreak Series


CREDIT: Ryan Adams (song was never released)

[Rant: The Music Store]


I simultaneously love and hate going into large music stores. On the positive side, they usually have a big selection of things to try out and competitive prices. On the negative side they have:
1. Assholes playing the equipment as loud as they can, thinking somebody is going to mistake them for the next Eddie Van Halen (and you can't hear the stuff you are trying to actually buy)
2. 50-year-old sales associate rock-star-wannabes who are bitter they aren't the next Eddie Van Halen
3. Said sales associates looking down on customers when they don't understand all the nuances of the equipment.

On Saturday after months of research, I decided it was time to buy a bass amp. My friend Jack had given me basic guidelines since I don't know what I am doing when it comes to bass: Go for at least 250-400 watts and don't get a tube bass amp because they are hard to diagnose issues. Most bass amps in the 300 watt range are $600-1000 new. I was hoping to snag a used amp for $400 bucks (I was noticing some on ebay and craigslist and thought I could haggle something in the store).

I went in Sam Ash after coming up dry in the Guitar Center (I was experiencing issue #1 at GC, but it was my own fault for going in there on a weekend). Over the years, I have purchased several items at the store, but I have been staying away because the sales staff has gotten really rude. I went in a recognized a guy I bought a guitar from a few years ago; he passed me off to the "bass guy". This fellow was wearing red jeans, a be-dazzled belt, and was rocking guy-liner. I gave him the benefit of doubt since it was Halloween. He took me around the store and showed me their stock. He suggested an Ampeg bass amp with a tube pre-amp built in (breaking Jack's rule, but since it was a hybrid, I was thinking it might be safe). He said it was 300 W and was on sale for $300.00. My spider sense was tingling - 300W + Ampeg + New does not equal $300.00 (more like $800). I kept asking him and he insisted it was. He then started to tell me he was going to buy one himself tonight and my bullshit meter was on high alert, but the amp sounded very warm and good in the store and I had 30 days to return it, so I figured what the hell...I was hoping the dude made a mistake and it was maybe 200W which might have been okay since Ampeg is known for making good, powerful amps.

I took this thing home, turned it on, and it immediately started buzzing with nothing plugged in. Bad sign. After messing around, the amp I brought home didn't sound as warm as the one in the store, something was broken. On top of that, I google the model and it was actually 100W (which would be fine at the house by myself, but playing with a drummer it would quickly get overwhelmed). This fucker was going back.

Back at Sam Ash today... I get in line to return the amp. It is finally my turn. The clerk asks for my receipt, and then says, "oh the guy who sold it to you is working today, hold on". I wonder why I need this guy to do a return but shrug it off. So I stand there and wait. Then I wait some more. Another 10 more minutes go by. Nothing. The clerk walks past me and I stop him and ask him if he could perform the return. He makes a face and then asks me for me receipt. "I handed it to you 20 minutes ago" I said. "Oh - I must have given it to the guy you bought it from, hold on" he says. And goes off again. Now I am getting pissed. The "bass guy" finally comes out to ring up another customer he was helping and doesn't even acknowledge me. I eye him down: more guy-liner, shark fin hair, pushing 40 - it wasn't Halloween today.

He helps his customer and asks me if I need help - I tell him I want to return the amp he sold me because it was defective and only 100W. "Do you have your receipt?". I tell him the other clerk took it and said he gave it to him - he goes off to find it. More waiting. Finally he comes back and starts the return process. That takes another 10 minutes and I swear he is just being spiteful. Up to this point, I had every intention of buying another amp at the store. But now - not so much. I finally get my paperwork and head out the door. I went into the Guitar Center again but I was too pissed off to buy anything today. Perhaps next week.

[NOTICE: Old Blog Info]

I have mentioned this before, but the blog I did before this one called "Traffic in the Skyline" (2003-2006) recently came back under my control. I attempted to merge the two blogs, but the tool won't work. It is probably for the best, that blog was more unfocused and I was still figuring out what I wanted to do. With that being said, I re-branded it under the JoeyLombardi.com umbrella and you can find it at Oldblog.joeylombardi.com. It is rough around the edges but there are some classics in there if you dig.

[Recipe of the Week: Spicy Corn Fritters]

Credit: Norecipes.com
INGREDIENTS:

2 ears of corn, kernels removed with a sharp knife
3 scallions sliced thin
2 Tbs minced cilantro
a couple minced red chilies
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (less if you use regular salt)
1 Tbs toasted garam masala
black pepper
1/2 C flour
1/4 C cornstarch
1/3 C water + more as needed

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Add the corn, scallions, cilantro, chilies, and egg into a bowl. Put the baking powder, salt, garam masala, pepper, and flour cornstarch in separate bowl and whisk together. Add to the the vegetable mixture then stir in 1/3 C water until just combined (do not overmix).
2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add 1/8″ of oil to the pan and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil, using the bottom of the spoon to smooth the tops. Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry the other side.

[DIY of the Week: Defeat Dandruff]

With the winter coming, heaters are going to dry your skin faster than you can say "The Breakfast Club" (you know the scene where Ally Sheedy makes it snow?), defeat your shoulder snow with simple aspirin....

Finely crush 3 tablets of Aspirin then dissolve in a spray bottle of hot water, allow to cool. Apply to scalp (all over) then shampoo as normal. Shake the spray bottle before each use.


More ideas can be found here

The first few seconds of the video shows the Ally Sheedy clip for those too young to remember...


[Video of the Week]

I love "This American Life". I saw this episode a few months ago, but this week I noticed somebody put it on Youtube and wanted to share it with you:



[Conclusion]

Thanks for reading this week! I am trying to do a few closing projects to end volume 01, but I don't know if they will be done by next week/#52 - keep your fingers crossed! If you need to reach me, you can contact me via email: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Joey Lombardi | Create Your Badge