Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 24



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I spent alot of time fixing computers for friends this week; I would have busted out a Computer Joey tutorial but it is information I have already shared and I know how much you all love repeats. I also lent my critical eye to a friend buying a house... I could write a whole article about that (and maybe I will), but for now I will share this: be VERY wary of your real estate agent. Unless you have a great one, assume they are not looking out for your best interests. More to come on that. Even with all of my geek excitement, I have some stuff leftover for you my readers, so let's open up the fridge and see what's left over...

[The Back Window]











CREDIT: The New Pornographers

[Cindy Cashdollar]

If you read this blog often, you know I am a huge fan of Ryan Adams. My favorite song is off of his "Cold Roses" double CD, and it is entitled "If I am a stranger". The original version of the song features a slide guitar player named Cindy Cashdollar (Adam's current slide player Jon Graboff is excellent as well). Her slide solo is one of the greatest things I have ever heard musically. Totally takes the song to the next level. Cashdollar has played with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and a ton of other bands.

I wanted to know more about her work, and I decided to share my findings with you.

We know she plays the Lap Steel, here is Cindy playing the blues:


She also plays the Dobro (and has an instructional DVD)


Here is a great clip (minus the clown singing) with former Cardinals bass player Cathrine Popper:


While I am not a huge dixie\blue-grass fan, if Cindy Cashdollar is playing on a track, I am damn sure going to give it a listen.

Here is Cindy on my favorite song...









[Recipe of the Week: Home Made Snickers Bar]


Homemade Snickers Candy Bar Recipe - More DIY How To Projects

INGREDIENTS:
14 oz milk chocolate (about 2 cups chips, or coarsely chopped bar)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips (divided in half)
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (divide in half)

FOR NUGAT:
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
64 g peanut butter (not included in previous measurement)
1.5 cups marshmallow fluff

FOR LAYERS (Caramel):
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1.5 Tablespoons butter
1 pound of caramels
1.5 cup peanuts

DIRECTIONS:
Follow the directions in the embedded post....

[DIY of the Week: Office Crossbow]

Delight your friends, annoy terrible co-workers with this office hack:



WildAmmo: Pencil Crossbow

There are no words for the instructions, just pictures, so go to WildAmmo

[Video of the Week]

Toys sucked back in the day... Better off with a stick and a rolled up sock...



[Conclusion]

I mentioned a service called ScanCafe last week (and how great it was for scanning pictures); I haven't received the DVD with fully scanned pictures yet, so I am going to hold off my review until then. I also will share my tale of dealing with Microsoft on repairing a four year old Xbox 360 (when everything is finished). 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, April 18, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 23



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I spent a good portion of my week reviewing contracts and bills for work (isn't that fun!) and most of the weekend cleaning my garage and installing a track hanging systems. I know you are thinking "Joey is living the high life"... I could not agree more. Since I was such a beacon of excitement this week, let's open the fridge and see what's leftover.

[The Back Window]











CREDIT: Ben Sollee

[Scancafe: Part One]

If I mention a product or service on this blog, it is usually negative. Today I thought I would go the other way and share a story about a service that simply blew my mind. Last month my Mom asked me if I could do something with hundreds of Kodak slides that she found at my grandmother's house. I had no idea what to do with them. I looked around on the internet and found a few scanning services. ScanCafe kept popping up and seemed to have the best reputation. I needed to do something for my mom's birthday, so I threw caution to the wind and signed up.

I had to get a box and mail the slides. They gave detailed instructions on what to do so they didn't get damaged. I received an email a few days later telling me they got the package. Every couple of days I was updated via email telling me what was happening with the slides (this isn't a short process as they scan these images by hand). This morning I received notice that I can view the images and I was stunned. Since they came from slides and were scanned at such high resolution - the digital pictures are crystal clear. Most of these pictures were taken from the early 1950's - 1979 (the last few are baby pictures of my sister and your favorite blogger).

Most of my mother's extended family live or lived in California so I never met most of them - as a result, I was looking at hundreds of pictures of strangers. I was going to get into my thoughts about what I saw, but I don't have the images yet (and I couldn't download them to the PC). I will do a part two as soon as I get the DVD with the pictures and do a bit of commentary about the images (because there is something to be said about them) and give the final word about ScanCafe and if it is as top-notch as I think.

[Ubuntu 10.1 Beta Preview]

I installed the Ubuntu and Xubuntu 10.1 betas on a few older machines in the house this week. Without getting too deep into details, I have to say the installation process has greatly improved from the 9.10 release (which had massive issues with certain video cards and monitors). The minor tweaks to the XFE and GNU interfaces look and feel more "Mac" than "Windows". Linux nerds will complain that Linux should have it's own identity and while I don't disagree, making it familiar and accessible will bring more users.

I easily found my favorite applications in the BETA package manager after I opened the source list and make the "partner" repositories active (confused? click here). Ubuntu was working pretty well on a 10 year old machine I built in college. I also managed to get Xubuntu to run on a total P.O.S. Dell desktop (this thing has got to be at least 14 years old) that someone left at my house that should (rightfully) be in the garbage. It is running a little sluggishly, but it is getting on the internet with no problems. As long as I don't try to do any multimedia activity, it works well.

The Ubuntu community took a major step in the right direction with this release. I am looking forward to testing the final version.

[RANT: Kids and Bars #3]

I have gone off on this topic before, but I just have to repeat myself: Kids don't belong in bars after 6 PM.

My wife and I went out with friends last night to a BYOB. We didn't bring much "OB" so after our meal we went searching for a bar. We started our night in Collingswood, NJ (which is a dry town), so we went into Westmont, NJ which was right down the street. We attempted to get a seat at the Pour House but it was mobbed (seriously, why the hell would anyone pack in there like there isn't another bar in all of South Jersey? PS - The service is terrible in there. TERRIBLE). We attempted to get parking at PJ's Prime but that was also a lost cause.

I made the executive decision to go to a bar that I KNEW would have seats, was suitably dark, and sufficiently unfriendly: Kaminskis. Sure enough there was plenty of parking and we had no problem getting a table. BUT... the table we sat next to was literally full of kids. Even though Kaminskis' is trying to play themselves off as a bar and grill, everybody knows this place is a straight up dive bar. When I walk in there at 9 PM I am not expecting to see a table full of 8 year olds. I don't think I am being as harsh as this article, as I don't see an issue taking a kid into a bar for lunch (certainly not lingering) but 9 PM on a Saturday just seems completely irresponsible, for no other fact than those children were sitting near me - I know some stuff is going to come out of my mouth that they shouldn't be hearing (although I have to say the parents were a little on the raunchy side themselves).

GO TO FUCKING FRIENDLIES, GET A FRIBBLE, AND LEAVE THE UN-FRIENDLY PLACES TO THE UN-FRIENDLY PEOPLE.

[Recipe of the Week: Pretzel Bites]

CREDIT: Fake Ginger

NOTE: Ginger used a bread baking machine to knead the dough. But some of us don't have bread machines, but a mixer will do just fine, so my directions are based on a mixer (which I stole from a Bobby Flay recipe)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 F)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast (I used instant)
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled just slightly
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and spray liberally with vegetable spray.
2. Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of the flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
5. Spray a bowl with cooking spray (or oil with with vegetable oil), add the dough and turn to coat.
6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray two baking sheets liberally with cooking spray.
8. Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
9. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make pretzel bites.
10. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches of about 10-15 for 30 seconds.
11. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place the pretzel bites on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they aren’t touching.
12. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt.
13. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
14. Remove to a cooling rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.

[DIY of the Week:Cotton Candy Machine]

Looks like you need a simple small motor, two snapple bottle caps, a long grill lighter, a block of wood, and some wire.



[Video of the Week]

This is a short film (only 4 1/2 minutes) - it's called "The Gift" and it is awesome.



[Conclusion]

I think I did alright for a boring week. On a side note, I went out for a blogging job at XPN and it doesn't look like they have any interest. It's okay... I'm not losing sleep over it; but if some other fancy web 2.0 organization wants the very-reasonable-if-not-free services of a certain handsome blogger, drop me a note. I am looking to break out of my mold aka "have someone give me assignments". 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, April 11, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 22



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week we talk about "Airlines to Heaven" and a priests down your pants. I am also covering evil birds and roasted beets. Let's open the fridge and see what's leftover...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Yusuke Nagano









CREDIT: Ben Kweller

[Church Abuse Scandal]

I tried to ignore it.
I really did.
I know you (my readers) will think I am beating a dead horse... but I have to...

The Catholic Church's response to the most recent outbreak of sex abuse reports is astoundingly inappropriate and insensitive. Two weeks ago, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, denounced the "attacking media" stating "clear and despicable intention" to strike at Benedict "at any cost." Let's get this straight: the church expects us to feel bad for The Pope? The same Pope who let a Wisconsin priest who admitted to sexually abusing a child off the hook. Oh yeah these kids were also DISABLED. Instead of punishing this bastard, they gave him a desk job in which he STILL HAD ACCESS TO CHILDREN.

This is just one example of a total abuse of ill-gotten power. Sinead O'Conner recently wrote an Op-Ed piece describing her experiences with the church. Her piece was written as a response to the Pope's half-assed letter of apology to the thousands of Irish children that were abused over the last 50 years.

A letter isn't going to make this go away. Admitting that you are an organization of child abusers isn't going to make this go away. The church needs a complete overhaul if they even have the right to remain a organization of spiritual guidance.

[LEFTOVER: Wilco Concert Review]

I saw Wilco last night. Click here to read my review.

[LEFTOVER: Short Story]

I wrote a short story this week, if you missed it, click here to read "Conceived in a cage".

[Recipe of the Week: Grilled Beet Salad]

INGREDIENTS
16 baby red and golden beets trimmed leaving 1 inch of stems intact
1 orange
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 t fresh thyme finely chopped
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces goat cheese (good quality) crumbled
fresh chervil leaves for garnish
salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook the red and golden beets in separate medium saucepans of boiling water until almost tender about 12 minutes. Drain. (Keep the beets separate so the red beets don't discolor the golden beets.)
2. Peel the beets then cut the smaller beets lengthwise in half and larger beets lengthwise into four wedges.
3. Grate 1 teaspoon of orange zest into a large bowl then squeeze 1/4 cup of orange juice into the bowl.
4. Whisk in the vinegar garlic and thyme.
5. Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk to blend well. Season the vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Toss the beets in separate medium bowls with the vinaigrette to coat. Marinate 30 minutes tossing occasionally.
7. Prepare a barbecue for medium heat. Remove the beets from the vinaigrette; reserve the vinaigrette.
8. Grill the beets until they are tender turning as needed about 10 minutes. Return the beets to the vinaigrette and toss to coat.
9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10. Divide the beets among 4 plates.
11. Crumble the goat cheese over the warm beets. Garnish with the chervil leaves. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette around the plate and serve.

CREDIT: KitchenDaily.com

[DIY of the Week: Hanging Chair]


Paracord Laced Pallet, Hanging Chair - More DIY How To Projects

[Video of the Week]

This kid used the physical school as a musical instrument - excellent.

[Conclusion]

I covered alot of ground this week, so let's end it before there is a revolt. 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

Concert Review: Wilco @ The Electric Factory (Philadelphia)

Website: WilcoWorld.net
Opening Act: N/A
Venue: The Electric Factory
Date: Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Last Wilco Review: Wilco: 7.10.2009 @ Delware



Let's start this review by stating the obvious, I really like Wilco. The last (and first) time I saw them was in a minor league baseball stadium in Wilmington, DE. It was an excellent show, but it felt a little disconnected since it was such a big outdoor venue. When I received word about a show at the Electric Factory I jumped at the tickets. Normally I start a concert review with my thoughts on the opening act, but Wilco did not having an opener. Did I mention how much I love this band?

We attempted to get seats in the upper section of the Electric Factory but it was packed. On my way down I saw the security officer from my Cranberries review. We exchanged pleasantries and I went off to find a suitable place to stand. We found a nice spot off to the side next to another staircase.

Tweedy and company went on stage at 8:30 PM. No chatty introductions, just a quick hello and down to to the rock. They opened with "Wilco (the song)" and it became clear in those opening moments that while Wilco is Jeff Tweedy's band, Nels Cline has become the whole show. Tweedy is certainly no slouch, churning out tune after tune (we left at the three hour mark), but Nels Cline was a sound monster the entire night.

After the third or fourth song, an older gentlemen in a red sweater and tan hat start to smoke up (weed) right on the staircase that we were all standing next to. I was kinda shocked he wasn't trying to hide in the crowd a bit more; he was out in the open with his cheap skunk weed (and security was most definitely in force last night). The pot head was not the issue but I decided to call him "original sin" because as soon as that smoke hit the air, every degenerate loser in the place converged on the staircase next to us. A small group of middle aged women (that I am convinced didn't even know the band) talked the entire night. Tweedy (politely) told the crowd to be quiet a few times, these women didn't take the hint.

The band played just about every song I could think of including material from "Mermaid Ave" I love the current line up's reinterpretation of older material (with Cline and drummer Glenn Kotche) as it sounds infinitely better: tighter, better fills, and of course more practiced.

At the 90 minute mark, the stage crew came out (with Wilco not taking a break) and added some lamps and mood lighting. The show shifted to softer, acoustically driven material. This is when the situation with the talking ladies came to a boiling point. One of the members of my group politely asked them to listen to the music and they balked. After some words exchanged, the loud mouths finally stifled themselves and we really set into a nice undisturbed grove. Going into the evening, I was secretly hoping they would play "Airline to Heaven" which I have heard only live tracks and I really like the work that Cline does on slide guitar. As we entered 150 minute mark, I didn't think it was going to happen (because the music start to pick up the pace), but then "There's an airline plane..." - I was now satisfied.

As I mentioned, at the three hour mark, we decided to go. I heard every song I wanted to hear and then some. The band sounded unbelievably great. I also want to mention Pat Sansone who is Wilco's other guitarist and while he may be overshadowed by Cline, he is a tremendous guitar and keyboard player, I was watching this guy all night and he was working his ass off. If you haven't seen the band play live via concert or the multitude of DVD's that are available, you don't know this band. I would tell you to go out and get tickets, but they are probably sold out. Go buy this DVD, I am not giving you the choice.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Original Short Story: Conceived in a Cage

Howdy true be-loggers:

I wanted to share a short story I wrote this week. Hope you don't think it sucks.

Click on the link to read the story:
Conceived in a Cage

Thanks for visiting,
- Joey

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 21



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Today is Easter which isn't a big deal except that it has caused me to question some of the traditions that have come out of this religious holiday. We will be discussing my curiosities in today's article as well as a variety of other things, so let's open the fridge and see what is left over.

[The Back Window]











CREDIT: Lawrence Arabia - Apple Pie Bed

[Easter Eggs]

During Easter Dinner with my family (yes I still do religious dinners even though I don't care about religion), my mother was talking about Easter Eggs and I wondered out loud "where the hell did the idea of Easter Eggs come from?". Of course nobody knew, so I took to the internet to find out what Easter Eggs were all about.

It seems that Easter Eggs cannot be discussed without bringing the Easter Bunny into the conversation (which is another preposterous concept)...

***RANT***
I find it somewhat odd and a little cruel that Bunnies are the symbol of Easter when many cultures practice eating rabbit as part of the Easter meal. Decades ago (and I am sure still to this day), it was not uncommon to give a child a "pet bunny" for Easter. I imagine that gift was sort lived (figurative and literally) as little "Bugs" was going to be a big part of Easter just not as a child would expect. Dig in!
***/RANT***

Sorry for that unscheduled rant, getting back to Easter eggs...

So the Easter Bunny seems to have it's roots in German paganism. Thousands of years ago, the civilizations that occupy what is now Germany believed in a Goddess named "Eostre" (wow that name looks eerily similar to "Easter" - who would have guessed that a Christian holiday would have pagan roots?). The people commonly assigned sidekick animals to their Gods/Goddess and Eostre's animal was a rabbit. The pagan's celebrated the Goddess during a month they called "Ä’ostur-monath" which scholars think is the month of April. Eostre is celebrated as a "Spring-like fertility Goddess". The rabbit was picked as her totem animal because of it's reputation of rapid reproduction. Eggs were also associated to Eostre and thus the rabbit as a sign of fertility. The eggs are brightly colored to reflect the colors of spring time flowers.

The tradition made it's way to America thanks to the Pennsylvania Dutch (aka Germans) about 300 years ago.

The Christian usage of an egg also has ties to the Jewish tradition of dipping a hard-boiled egg in salt water symbolizing new life and the Passover sacrifice. Consuming an egg was also (apparently) done to mark the end of the Lent.

Sources:
Breakfast with Pandora
Wikipedia
Natchez Democrat

[Old School Driver]

I had a situation with a man and a car yesterday. Read about it here

(Anything that I feel can stand alone, I will break out of "Sunday Leftovers" so people can actually find it in a search engine)

[Recipe of the Week: Joey's Mac & Cheese]

INGREDIENTS:
9 Cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded) (6 for the sauce, 3 for the topping)
2 Lbs of elbow macaroni (or whatever the hell you want to use)
6 tablespoons of butter
6 cups of milk
5 tablespoons of flour
3 cloves of garlic (diced)
2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
2 tablespoons of hot sauce
1/4 cup of barbecue sauce
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Starting Tasks:
* Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
* Boil water and cook the macaroni as directions dictate. (After you drain the pasta, keep it in the pot you cooked it in so you can pour the sauce in there and mix it up)

1. In a sauce pot, melt the butter and and the garlic, let it cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add the milk and bring to medium-low heat.
3. Add the flour and start to whisk (with an egg beater) to eliminate any lumps. (NOTE: After several minutes, if you still have lumps, take them out with a spoon).
4. Add the cheese slowly (make sure to keep the reserve), continuing to whisk. Keep whisking until the cheese mixture is totally smooth.
5. Add the mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and BBQ sauce.
6. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the macaroni. Mix it well.
7. Transfer the macaroni into a large casserole dish and top with the reserve cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. (OPTIONAL: Some people like to add bread crumbs or potato chips, you can do that if you want now).
8. Put in the pre-heated oven and let it cook for 30 minutes.


[DIY of the Week: Fancy Easter Eggs]

Since we talked about Easter Eggs, here is a cool DIY for better looking Eggs (might want to file this away for next year you Pagan!)
Indie Fix - Better Easter Egg Technique

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

Did I go overboard with the Easter Stuff? Meh... deal with it. 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

Old School Driver

The first Saturday of April was beautiful and sunny. My wife and I decided to take advantage of the weather and put some more miles on the car. We made a left on the the main road and I noticed a sweet old Buick: I registered it as a pleasant object and then my mind went off to other thoughts.

As I started to get on the highway, I could see the old Buick in my rear-view mirror, it was fish-tailing and trying to get around the person between us. That person quickly yielded and let Buick pass. Now it was behind me and right up my ass. I started cursing at the driver's recklessness. I was boxed in on the other side, so I couldn't get over to let him pass. I slowed it down a bit to give him a hint. He just got closer.

By slowing down, the person in the other lane got in front of me and this gave the driver of the Buick a chance to pass.


I looked over to give him a dirty look and I noticed this Buick was being driven by an old man. A really old man. The urge to give this guy the finger dissipated and I started thinking "good for you old man, still busting balls at your age". The old bastard in his mint muscle car got in front of me and started to pull away. I told my wife to take out her phone, I needed a picture of this man and his car, to remember to keep busting balls. Alas, we captured the car, but not the man.

Normally I would be ranting about asshole drivers in New Jersey, but not today; Yes the guy was most definitely an asshole but at least he wasn't humbled by his advanced age. Not meek and fearful like his peers, this bastard drove a cool car and and kept his swagger. There is a lesson here for all of us.

To summarize: an old man in an old American Buick blew my Japanese Honda off the road.