Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Computer Joey: Using Pidgin IM Client with custom google domains

Even though I have several domains running through the Google Apps engine, I always forget how to set the custom instant messenger settings in my IM client. This week I start my MBA at Western Governor's University and I noticed they are running on the Google Apps engine (which I am very happy about). When I tried to connect via Pidgin (my IM client), I ran into a few issues, so I thought it would be nice to do a quick tutorial.

[STEP ONE: Get IM Client]

For this exercise I am using Pidgin IM Client. I have been using it for a few years: it's clean, fast, and not loaded with bloat-ware. Feel free to use what you want, but if you are a newbie I suggest following these instructions exactly.

Click HERE to download the program (don't worry, it's safe!)

Follow all of the default install steps - pretty simple.

[STEP TWO: Account Credentials]

I am going to assume you have your custom domain set up. If you want to know how to do that, I happen to have written a tutorial a few months ago (click here to read that).

Assuming you are reading this at WGU or another school that has "gone google", make sure you have your school email account activated. If you can log into email, you should be good to go.

[STEP THREE: Configuration]

NOTE: For this example, I am going to use the Western Governor's info.

1. When you first install Pidgin you will have an option to "ADD AN ACCOUNT". Click that button. If you have pidgin already installed, go to the "Accounts" Menu and then select "Manage Accounts" and then click the "ADD" button.

2. You will now have an "Add Account" Screen:


3. Make sure this screen has the following settings:

Protocol: XMPP (this is a drop down box)
Username: [Your User Name] - Example: jdoe (NOTE: Do NOT put your full email address in the Username field)
Domain: [yourdomain.com] - Example: wgu.edu
Resource: [You can leave this blank]
Password: [Your password]
Remember password: Make sure this is checked
Local alias: If you are using many accounts, it is good to put an alias in. Example: WGU


UPDATE (for WGU students only): To get some more features put "mychat.wgu.edu" in for the domain

4. Click on the top tab on the right - "Advanced Settings":

Require SSL/TLS: [Not Checked]
Force old (port 5223) SSL: [Not Checked]
Allow plaintext auth over unecrypted streams: [Not Checked]
Connect port: 5222
Connect server: talk.google.com
File transfer proxies: proxy.jabber.org
Show custom Smileys: [Checked]
Proxy type: Use Global Proxy Settings


UPDATE (for WGU students only): Put in mychat.wgu.edu as the connect server too (this will give you access to chat conference rooms)

Click the "ADD" button at the bottom

You are done!

[STEP FOUR: Adding a friend]

1. If you want to add a friend, go to Buddies > Add Buddy (or just hit "Crtl" + "B" (for buddy))



2. Add your new friend's email address (this will work for your school, gmail, and anyone running Google Apps)


Click "ADD"

WGU ONLY: You are going to be asked to accept a certificate - just say yes.

Once your friends accepts the communication request, you are in business.

The Oatmeal: How everything goes to hell during a zombie apocalypse

(#Zombie, #TheOatmeal)

This amused me, so I thought I would share (no easy way to repost the pictures, so just go to the site).



Read the whole things at:
The Oatmeal: Zombie Apocolypse

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rachel Maddow: Spill from 30 years ago

(#BP, #OilSpill, #Maddow)

My friend Marc sent me this clip and I certainly thought it was blog worthy:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 33



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! It is hot as hell in the East Coast today - I spent a good portion of my weekend outdoor and regret it a great deal (family time aside). I spent a few hours painting the trim around my front door and got into a nasty spat with a hornet's nest hidden in a porch light. Let's just say it was unpleasant. All that aside, I managed to find a few items to share with you this week, so let's open the fridge and see what's leftover.

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Mike Worrall



CREDIT: Apollo Ghosts- Things you Go Through

[Recipe of the Week: Alton Brown's Fried Chicken]

I was thinking about fried chicken this week and I spotted this. I love Alton Brown and this is recipe is short and simple.

Ingredients
1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Directions
1. Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
2. Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.
3. Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
4. Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)
5. Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.

Check out the video here

[DIY of the Week: Free VoIP Calls]

Google Voice is now open for everyone. The good people at Lifehacker show how to use that free number to make complete free phone calls from your computer:

Lifehacker: Free VoIP Calls

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

I am keeping it short and simple this week. If you noticed, I have been trying to break out the opinion pieces into their own articles (it has been forcing me to write a little more, which is good for me, and hopefully good for you too). On a programming note, I have decided to decline the writing offer from 7Tutorials due to time commitments. I am starting my MBA this upcoming week, and I just want to make sure I focus the right amount of time to that (wish me luck). 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

Twitter | Facebook

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RANT: The Radio is truly terrible (#Radio)



About four years ago, tired of listening to the wasteland of modern rock radio, I purchased a subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. I enjoyed the music they played. After the XM merger, Sirius eliminated a few of my favorite stations, this wouldn't have been enough to make me cancel the subscription, but I started working from home more often and was only in my car for less than 20 minutes a day, so I did away with it. When I get in my car now, I usually listen to CDs/MP3 player, 88.5 XPN, or NPR. The last few weeks have been fund-drives for both stations (and I donate to both) so I started scanning. Nothing much has improved in four years.

I know you are thinking "tell me something I don't already know". I don't just want to complain, I want to understand just what it is that sucks about radio today, and after listening for a week I discovered: there is no new(er) music on the radio. I listened from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM every day for the last 10 weekdays and I don't think there was song produced in the last 5 years played on my scans. What did I hear? Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, older Jay-Z (and radio sanitized), Radiohead (they play "Creep" at almost the same time every day - and that song is before they really became what Radiohead is today), Lifehouse (really?), lots of Bon Jovi (maybe because we are in New Jersey), and AC/DC. These station don't even bother playing the newer stuff of their established line up of geezers.

Perhaps I should just stick with the college radio stations? My issue with the college stations is they either play really shitty lo-fi recordings of their friends bands or it is 4 hour block of vaginal bleeding. Don't get me wrong, I love female musicians, but I don't need to hear Beth Orton, Susan Tedesci, and Nora Jones back-to-back. The common complaint of college radio playing R.E.M. 24x7 is bullshit - I would kill for some R.E.M. The ladies aren't the only ones to catch my wrath: Fuck Vampire Weekend. I can't stand the new twenty-something rock star: Fragile, fraught with stage fright, making sad bastard music (and nothing else). If I wanted to listen to a funeral dirge, I would go to church.

Radio stations say they play what people want to hear; but how do people know if they want to listen to something they never heard? Finding new acts on the internet is exhausting. It takes me at least 2-4 hours a week to pick out a song of the week for Sunday Leftovers. I scour at least 15 different music blogs each week to find ONE song I like enough to share each week, so I don't think most people would be that dedicated to finding new tunes. So how do you find new music (seriously, write back on this)? Listening to your iPod isn't a solution as it only has the music you own and know about (unless you want to listen to terrible 2 hour music pod-casts hoping for a good song). Should you pay $14.00 dollars a month hoping Sirus/XM's new wage/college/underground radio stations break the acts you want to hear? Internet radio stations like Last.fm take your listening preferences and make suggestions, but it hasn't been too successful for me yet. What is a viable alternative?

Musicians need the radio to get their songs to audiences. Radio stations need musicians to make music so people listen to their shitty formats and sell advertising. The radio has ignored the current 13-30 crowd because they have abandoned the artists this generation listens to. People aren't going to record stores to buy music anymore; the radio should have more influence than ever, but instead it chooses to "play it safe" and relegate itself to the currently diseased and inbred "Top 40" (how the hell can there be a Top 40 if nobody is buying music anymore?) [Let us all thank the 1996 telecommunications act that allows one asshole to own multiple stations in one market]

Should we get more proactive? Does calling radio stations really help? Should we try an experiment and call some local radio stations to see if we can make a change? Or should we try to take over a small AM station? Wheels are turning my friends, twitter back with comments, ideas, and shows of support.



JoeyLombardi on Twitter
Further Reading: The Contrarian

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CD Review: Hanson: Shout It Out

Allow me to start this review by asking you for forget I mentioned the name Hanson. I know you are all thinking "those little bastards who sang "MmmmBop"?" Yes, it is that Hanson, and that was a long time ago. In 2005, I read an article about the band surviving and thriving independently: producing their albums (working with musicians like Matthew Sweet), touring, and actually growing their support base. I purchased the album they were supporting at the time and was impressed with what I heard. It was still a little sugary for my taste, but I saw the bones of a great band that had been playing with each other their entire lives.

Flash forward to 2010 - Hanson is still independent and their music is continuously maturing. Their most recent effort called "Shout It Out" rests equally on foundations of soul and pop. The lead single "Thinkin' 'bout something" has a pretty decent horn section running through most of the song. I feel like my interest in the band is finally paying off: last year singer Taylor fronted the super-group "Tinted Window" which was pretty fucking awesome (Bun E. Carlos on drums - yes!) and now "Shout It Out" sounds exactly like it should - three guys who are totally in each other's heads laying down some tracks. It is tight and sounds good. I hear Hanson puts on a pretty good live show, I am not sure if I am willing to intermingle with their post-pubescent fan base, but I am not ruling it out either.

This video recreates one of the best scenes in Blues Brothers - can't fault them for good taste


Update: I found a live performance of the song on Letterman...


You can purchase "Shout it Out" on Amazon

Monday, June 21, 2010

Follow-up: Justin Currie Live on Craig Ferguson

Here is a follow-up to my Justin Currie Concert Review. He performed live on Ferguson a few days before the Philadelphia show.



You can purchase "The Great War" at Amazon

Doughnut Summit?



While my disdain for L.A. knows no limit, I am jealous that they have a Doughnut Summit.

Held at a park, over 40 of the city's finest doughnut artisans gather to compete for the crown of Best Doughnut. The end of the day is capped off with douchey poetry - I expect nothing less from you Los Angeles!

Click here to read more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Test 2: Twitter

Hmmm... this doesn't seem to be working. Let's see if this makes the rounds.

UPDATE: It's works! This is going to get very interesting.

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 32



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! We are going to do a lighter one today thanks to lots of mid-week blogs and me running out of time thanks to Father's Day visitations, but I think easy reading on a Sunday or Monday morning is a good thing. Let's open the fridge and see what's leftover...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Weekend Plans



CREDIT: Justin Currie - The Man with Nothing to Do

[Concert Review: Justin Currie]

I saw Justin Currie last night at the Tin Angel. Here is my review

[Twitter]

In an effort to be more interactive with my readers, I am getting involved with Twitter (since I have Facebook locked down and REFUSE to make a fan page for myself on grounds of pure douch-ness). You can twat (that's what I am calling it - and you should too) me here

[Recipe of the Week: Beef Empanadas]

Credit: Kitchen Daily: These savory pastries were created by Mariana Velasquez, a Test Kitchen intern who grew up in Bogot, Colombia.
NOTE: I removed alot of things I didn't like from the original recipe. Do as you will, the bones are the same.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour (see Tips)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1 1 cups water
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups potatoes diced, cooked (about 8 small red potatoes) or frozen hash-brown potatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 scallions (white part only), chopped
1 egg mixed with 1/4 cup water for glaze

Directions

1. To prepare dough: Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add oil and work with your fingertips until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add water and knead until dough just comes together (do not overwork). Press the dough into two disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

2. Cook ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Add onion to the pan and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, vinegar, potatoes, salt, and the beef. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes to intensify flavors and reduce liquid. Fold in scallions. Let cool completely in the refrigerator.

3. To assemble empanadas: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disk at a time to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut circles of dough using a 4 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (see Tips). Make 24 circles altogether.

4. Brush egg glaze around the edges of the dough circles. Place about 2 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle. Fold filled circles in half, press edges together and crimp with a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush egg glaze over the empanadas.

5. Bake the empanadas until golden and crisp, switching the position of the pans midway, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Tips: You can use 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour to replace 1 cup all-purpose flour. If you don't have the right-sized cookie cutter, an empty 28-ounce can or plastic lid will also work.

[DIY of the Week: Windproof Garage Sale Sign]

Credit: Apartment Therapy

While I detest garage sales, I am sucked into the twice yearly community yard sale in my neighborhood. This will be useful to me, so I share with you:

Step 1: Grab a pack of [fluorescent] paper (I found mine for a few bucks at WalMart)

Step 2: Print and cut out the elements of the garage sale sign printable. You can find it at the end of this post. You may want to add your street address to the arrows with a black sharpie (I smudged our address out of these pictures – that's why the arrows look weird).

Step 3: Find a tall, narrow box of some kind (I used a priority mail box that my son had colored, a few other Sam's Club grocery boxes I had in my pantry). Add a few heavy items to the bottom of the box to weigh it down and prevent it from tipping in the wind. I used landscaping bricks because we had a few stashed in the garage but soup cans or hand weights would work too.

Step 4: Use duct tape to seal the top of the box and attach the signs to the front and back of the box (be sure the arrows point the same direction).

Check out the link above for pictures and more ideas.

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

Thanks for reading this week. To all the fathers (including my own - and I know he won't be reading this) - Happy Father's Day! 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: Justin Currie @ The Tin Angel (Philadelphia, Pa)

Artist: Justin Currie (of Del Amitri)
Opening Act: Graham Colton
Location: The Tin Angel - Philadelphia, Pa
Date: Saturday, June 19th, 2010

[Venue]
The Tin Angel
20 South 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA

The Tin Angel is a great place to see a musician. It's small and intimate, so if you happen see a show with "popular act", you are in for a real treat. There is a restaurant downstairs that is great, so it's a good night out if you can snag a table.

[Opening Act: Graham Colton]
As we walked into the Tin Angel, my wife and I (unknowingly) had a brief, pleasant exchange with Graham Colton. He was quite polite and friendly (and I am sure the ladies will find him good looking). Colton's music is easy on the ears; a respectable singer with a good sense of rhythm on the guitar. His singer-songwriter style leans towards poppy love songs; since he seems like such a genuinely nice guy, the music doesn't come off as douchy.

Colton's last song of his 30 minute set (which was about the death of a friend - I didn't catch the name) was his most emotionally mature. I want to recommend Graham Colton to you, but I suspect if you have a penis the music won't do much for you. With that said, Graham is the kind of guy that a college girl would love to take home and get the bed sheets dirty and not feel all shamed up about it the next day (just don't mention his wife Helen).

Website: Graham Colton

[Main Event: Justin Currie]
Let me just get this out of the way: Justin Currie sounded incredible. Years of the rock star lifestyle has done nothing to damage or degrade his voice, if anything, it has improved with age. Currie was accompanied by a keyboard/accordion player named Pete and it looks like the two have been playing together for a while. The set list consisted of a nice blend of Del Amitri classics and his newer solo material. Currie took a significant amount of requests from the crowd including one from me "Don't I look like the kind of guy you used to hate." He forgot half the song since it was an obscure b-side, but seemed impressed someone in the US knew about it.

Currie changed up some classic Del Amitri tunes like "Not Where it's at" since the band wasn't backing him - the changes seemed natural and sounded excellent. Justin's newer tunes seemed to utilize a milder version the "Neil Finn Solo Album" technique - having weird little electronic noises under the acoustic guitar - it worked well to fill out the sound without a full band. Since Currie took so many requests, the tempo of the show dragged a bit in the middle (most people requested slower songs), but like a pro he knew when to pick it back up. The show ended around 10:00 PM as Justin was asked to wrap it up for another act starting at 10:30 (nobody I ever heard of).

Justin Currie is one of the premire, yet overlooked (in the US) songwriters of the last 20 years and it was a real pleasure to be able to see him perform in an intimate venue. Tonight is his last tour date and it is in Washington, DC. If you are in the area, I highly recommend catching the show.



You can purchase Justin Currie's "The Great War" at Amazon

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Oil Disaster

I am going to make this one short and sweet for now...

The BP Oil Spill is an ecological disaster of epic proportions. People can finger point to the government and regulations, but the fingers all need to stay pointed at BP. I just saw a post on Lifehacker regarding donations for spill victims, nobody should be donating money for this; BP should be paying for clean-up, subsidizing fishermen's living expenses, and paying off any other business owner who has been impacted by their mistakes.

This is not a time for charity; this is the time to take what is owned from the people who caused this.


(image credit: Rob)

On another note, if you planned on helping with clean up efforts - read this article first. Crude oil is toxic to humans and the removal process can lead to long-term health issues.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Downfall of the Current Education System



Are you a parent of a teenager wondering exactly how you are going to help your child pay for college tuition? Are you a student wondering why you don't feel satisfied with the career options you have going into college? Do you get the general feeling that something isn't right with the whole system? If you feel that way, you aren't wrong and you aren't alone.

[The System has Failed Us]

When I first started to write this post, I was initially taking the "road to hell is paved with good intentions" approach to how the education system became such a mess, but after reading a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin, I modified my perception. The American education system (top to bottom) was designed to create followers (sheep). We give up our creativity with this unspoken expectation/promise that if we follow the rules, big brother will take care of us. School is design to make children good at following directions and spitting back output. This is the factory assembly line mentality to education. Big business barons (say that three times fast) back in the early 19th century realized the best way to mollify cranky workers is to give them just a bit of education to make the compliant. THAT IS MODEL THAT THE MODERN AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM EVOLVED FROM.

After America won WWII and committed to educating our soldiers, American colleges started to modify their business model and focus on the masses. Suddenly college education which was reserved for the elite, was in the grasp of anyone who wanted it. The GI bill made education affordable (almost free) to thousands of boys in the 1940's. That generation started the expectation that everyone should go to college to get ahead.

50 years of the Government subsidizing education through state schools, community colleges (which in it's current form was an invention of the Nixon administration), and private subsidization through Pell grants ended this decade with the implosion of the economy. Instead of giving students a free ride (or at least a discount), Uncle Sam helped them secure cheap loans at 1-3% interest..."free money". Thus was born the generation of 21 year olds with 100,000 dollars of debt.

100k of debt is okay when you are making enough money to pay it back and are able to live, but when we aren't creating jobs for these kids paying back $100,000 loan on a waiter's salary isn't going to be easy. Realize that this is the moment (right now) where America's unspoken pact with it's students has broken. The weight of our ideals and expectations has finally collapsed and we are left wondering for the first time in 50 years if a four year undergraduate degree is worth the cost.

[Where are we today?]

Instead of making this into a long section - let me make it short and terrifying:
  1. Since 1983, the average college tuition costs has risen 494% AFTER INFLATION (credit: DIY U by Anya Kamenetz)
  2. Due to middle and lower class America perusing higher education since the 1950's, colleges have been marketing and calibrating themselves to serve the masses. The undergraduate degree has become the educational equivalent of a McDonald combo meal (just keep bringing them in and turning them out).
  3. Since the Princeton Review started publishing it's college rankings in 1981, colleges have been trying to improve their position. They improve their rankings by rejecting more students. They reject more students by marketing to more students (and needing a marketing department)
  4. The old American schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale built their reputation because they were around the longest and amassed the greatest collections of knowledge (aka their libraries), ask yourself if that is relevant anymore with the availability of instant information via the internet
  5. Colleges justify their tuition increases by stating that students and parents want brand new gyms, fancy dorm apartments, "free" laptops and ipods. They also need marketing departments and alumni relations to keep the college's name out in the public's conscious. Ask yourself if a brand new rock climbing wall and dorm suites worth $40,000 for 9 months?
  6. While private colleges increase their services and tuition, state schools are forced to do more with less as state funding gets reduced or eliminated. Students looking to go to state schools have much more competition as everyone wants to get in on the bargain prices
  7. At the same time colleges are increasing their tuition, they are reducing the amount of tenured staff (from 66% in 1980's to about 33% today). Most adjunct professors are hired. Those professors, even with a full course load only make about $10,000.00 per year teaching at some of the best schools in the world. Most of those adjuncts usually teach at community colleges when they get free spaces in their schedules - which they say usually pays more at the same as the "good schools"

[Where do we go from here?]

Now that I have ruined your children's dreams, what do we do? We need to stop looking down on community college and 2 year degrees. Who decided that we need a four year degree (or a master's degree) to be proficient on a subject? What happened to master/apprentice relationships in business instead of just trade?

A new generation of DIY'ers and free thinkers are taking things into their own hands. More concerned with the actual skill instead of the accreditation, learners are seeking out experts to teach them their trade. As I mentioned before, college professors aren't making a living at the schools so they are offering private courses. These courses are cheaper than the college class and more tuned to the individual student (and not broken out into three or four courses). This is a win-win situation for student and teacher.

Colleges are not leveraging technology to reduce costs. There is an "open education" movement where people who want to share their knowledge are offering their skill for free. We are seeing this in blogs, wikipedia (and other wikis), message boards, online text books, and even in the colleges themselves. Many institutions including M.I.T. and Harvard offer free online classes to whoever wants to take them (not for credits). Why aren't colleges taking advantage of the free materials available online to reduce their overhead and the cost to students? Why aren't colleges banding together to share resources to reduce costs?

As people learn for themselves, colleges like Western Governor's University offer fully accredited degrees that let you test out of the classes you already know, making your education cheaper and allowing you to focus on the things you need to learn (in the interest of full-disclosure, after months of research I will be attending WGU for my MBA starting next month). Unlike online degree-mills, WGU is non-profit, charges in 6-month increments, and lets you take as many classes as you can in those 6 months. Google and Bill Gates have invested heavily in the school citing it as a model that works for the future of education. WGU is just one example of many non-traditional schools emerging to make education affordable but still challenging (I'll keep you updated).

[Conclusion...For Now]

Just because our parents did it and "that's the way it's always been done" doesn't make it the best way to do something. We need to open our minds to the possibilities that technology is creating. The educational model is broken on the grade school, high school, and undergraduate levels; unless students and the employers of the world take a stand and accept change, we are all going to be in a shit-load more debt with nothing to show for it.

[Resources]
  1. Career Key: Helps you determine what career you are best suited for.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  3. YoutubeEDU: Hundreds of free online lectures
  4. Open Yale Course: Dozens of Free Classes provided by Yale Professors

[Credits]
This post relied heavily on source material from the books:
DIY U by Anya Kamentz
Linchpin by Seth Godin
I highly recommend these books

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 31



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week is semi-short as I am putting the finishing touches on to my piece about education (update: it's finished; read it here). I was going to post it in Sunday Leftovers but I really think it is stand alone (since it is getting pretty big). I also have a rant about Ed Hardy brewing for Squidbuster, so check there this week too. Will all that said, let's open the fridge and see what's leftover.

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Yuta Onoda



CREDIT: Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man

[Recipe of the Week: Roasted Strawberry Bruschetta]

Recipe Credit: YumSugar
I made some modifications to the recipe because I really don't like goat cheese, and I think the texture of the raw arugula throws everything off (but that's just me)

Ingredients

2 cups strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 loaf ciabatta bread
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Slice the strawberries into a bowl and gently mix to coat with the balsamic vinegar. Spread strawberries out on a baking sheet and bake for five minutes. Remove and let cool.
3. Cut the ciabatta into equal slices, coat with olive oil, and broil on each side until toasted and crisp.
4. Spread feta cheese on hot bread, top equally with the roasted berries and juice. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

[DIY of the Week: Digitize your Life]

Those of you that know me, know that I hate paper. Here is a great Likehacker Tutorial on how to unclutter your life by getting everything digital.

[Video of the Week]
Quite a few friends tipped me off to this video. It is great...


[Quick Review: Band of Horses: Infinite Arms]

I am listening to Infinite Arms while I am typing this blog and it isn't good. It takes the worst elements of Cease to Begin and expands upon it (whine whine whine). If you are a Band of Horses fan, you might want to skip this one.

[Conclusion]

Someone asked me today what the cryptic messages about another writing gig and I am pleased to say that I was offered a writing gig with 7Tutorials. I am really excited about the offer and I am seriously weighing my options to make sure I have enough time to dedicate to that site (after having done a test article). I will let guys know which way I go. 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

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Look!

Howdy true be-loggers!

Blogger finally fixed their engine adding some much needed editing options. As a result, your favorite blog has been updated and looks pretty damn fancy!

Hope you like the new changes!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 30



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week we talk about hippie concerts, baseball games, and summertime drinking. Let's open up the fridge and see what's left over.

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Ryan Adams - Electro Snake

[Appel Farm Concert]

Normally when I do concert reviews, I break it out into it's own article. However, since I stayed at Appel Farms Festival for less than 90 minutes, we can talk about it here. The old saying "the early bird gets the worm" was appropriate for my issues with Appel Farm's annual concert. My wife and I were only really interested in seeing the Avett Brothers play, but I wanted to check out Buddy Miller too. Those acts started at 5 PM, the festival started at 11:30 AM. By the time we got there, the prime blanket areas were well taken.

By itself this is nothing that would annoy me, but the organizers put an enormous tent in the middle of the field ($100 bucks per ticket for those seats) that you could not see around unless you were completely to the left or right of the stage. Of course the sound isn't set up for extreme left or right seating. Due to the following reasons we left early:

1. Poor viability (thanks to the tent and our lateness) - I like to see musicians play - once they become dots - what's the point of being there?
2. The heat
3. The strange mix of drunk hippies and small children running around

While I feel like I wasted my money, I felt like I gained valuable time back.

[Phillies vs. Padres]

Went to a Phillies game with a nine and three year old today. Personally, I find baseball boring - so I encouraged doing all the things I like to do at the stadium: Eating, drinking, and making fun of drunk Phillies fans (it's amazing how many drunk people there are before 3 PM at professional sport events).

My wife informed me a heavy storm might blow into the Philadelphia/South Jersey area around 3 PM and sky was looking dark. We decided to leave at the fifth inning and watch the rest of the game at my cousins. The storm never came (although it rained a bit in the city) but the Phillies did lose in overtime 6-5. The kids didn't seem to care while they consumed the sweet spoils from their half-day at a baseball game. The scotch from my cousin's liquor cabinet certainly eased my troubled mind. Speaking of liquor....

[Recipe of the Week: Irish Whiskey Lemonade]

Courtesy of Esquire Magazine

DIRECTIONS:
1. Juice 12 lemons. Strain the juice.
2. Dissolve 2 1/4 cups Demerara sugar or Sugar in the Raw over a low heat in 2 cups water, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool, mix in the lemon juice, and put in a large (at least 1-gallon) pitcher or jug.
3. Add 2 quarts water, season to taste with Irish whiskey (I use at least a liter) and refrigerate.
4. If you've got raspberry bushes and ripe berries, you can mash a cup or two of them into the hot syrup, strain out the seeds and proceed in the normal way.

[DIY of the Week: CD Tray Ipod Dock]

Simple DIY this week....


DVD Drive iPod Dock - More DIY How To Projects

[Video of the Week]

Thank you Japan for continuously giving me odd shit to post on my blog...


[Conclusion]

I think that is a good mix of topics for today. Check mid-week for my write up on the education system (I know I have been hyping it too much). I also might have a pretty cool announcement this week for fans of my writing, just need to double check a few things before I open my mouth. 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

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Story: The Time I went to a Christian Rock Concert

Even though I was raised Roman Catholic, my family was not overly religious. Sure my mom made us go to church on Sunday and yes, I was an alter-boy (please refrain from the sexual molestation jokes - I was a fat kid, the priests weren't into me). Looking back, I feel like any of my religious activities at the time had more to do with my Italian heritage and South Philadelphia neighborhood than any feelings about faith or God. By the time I was in 6th grade (11ish), I had pretty much written off Christianity, but I kept it to myself until I was in high school.

While I spent most of my "family time" with my Dad's side, my mom's sister held a special place in my heart. She was (and is) very independent, odd, and a DEVOUT Catholic. It didn't seem strange to me at the time, but as I got older, my Aunt became more immersed/dependent on the church. The summer that I turned 12 she told me she had a very special birthday present for me (she usually indulged my obsession with electronics). Since my birthday was at the end of the summer, I was left waiting almost the entire 12 weeks for my gift. At some point I found out it was on a specific date, so I knew we were going to a place. Finally the day arrived and my Mom volunteered to drive the three of us. We were in the car for what seemed like hours and finally we pulled into a very pleasant looking place (farm like in appearance - open fields, barns, etc) and then I spotted the ENORMOUS WOOD CROSS.

My exact words: "Oh Shit"

My mom pulled into the parking area and this place was packed. We were late, but I could see kids everywhere. They all had purple and blue shirts on with crosses on it. I could tell that they were not the Catholic flavor of Christian that I was familiar with which made the situation (in my mind) even worse. I shot a nasty look to my mother and she communicated with her eyes that she had no idea what was going on. Knowing how her sister operates, I believed her. My aunt was already out of the car and pre-introducing me to these creepily polite kids. I walked up and exchanged pleasantries (translation: I was a total jerk to them) and they invited me into a retrofitted barn. I walked behind them looking back to see if my mother and aunt were following (I didn't want to be abducted into their cult) - as I passed the massive barn door, I saw a stage.

My exact words: "Get me the **** out of here"

I am a music snob now and I was a music snob then. Christian rock did not exist in my mind as a viable musical genre (it still doesn't). I see my mother and aunt peering into the door (they being the only Italian looking people in the establishment besides myself, everyone else looked like they walked off the set of "Children of the Corn"), I start to walk back to them and my aunt holds up her hand and says "just give it a chance". "No." She says: "You might like it since you love music." I say: "That's exactly why I won't." I could see that I might have cut a little too deep on that last line so I relented and sat down. The Children of the Corn started telling me about the clown that was about to play and I nodded and thought of better times. The guy comes on stage and is rocking 80's era Richard Marx quaffed hair and even has the pierced ear with long dangling earring. Opening chord rings...

I sit through three songs. The Children of the Corn are swaying and holding hands. The musician is singing about his deep Jesus Love.... I walk out. My aunt looks at me with disappointment, as my Mom has this amused look on her face - no doubt she enjoyed my suffering at the hands of the uber-Christians as cosmic retribution for some other act of defiance. As we walked out of the barn, a tall lanky looking fellow stops us, "Aren't you enjoying the show?" My aunt starts to engage this man in conversation, trying to explain away my "unexpected" bout of good taste. Soon enough they start passing bible quotations between each other. I look at my mother, who is equally ready to get the hell out of this nightmare (although she would never admit it), and she politely reminds my aunt that we are leaving. My aunt who I now know is exacting her own revenge on me continues to chat away with this fellow until he turns his attention to me.

"Didn't enjoy the show?" I will admit that during my pre-teen years I could be a rude little snot. I considered my silence at that point an act of extreme restraint. I looked at this tall bastard and said "This is not a show, it is a membership drive." He just looked at me, I am sure thinking I was destined for a life of sadness. My mother and aunt did and quickly escorted me to the car before I could inflict further damage or embarrassment. The ride home was very silent. In the 12 weeks leading up to this "surprise", I bragged and taunted my sister as (to my knowledge) she wasn't included (I assume she didn't need to go because she didn't "reject the church"), so now I was stewing because I would have to tell her what went down.

We walk into my grandmother's (who was watching my sister): "How was it?" she asks as she flipped through a gossip magazine. "Christian Rock Concert." She looks at me and starts laughing hysterically. She was right to laugh - who gets tricked into going to a Christian Rock Concert? Me. That's who.


(I don't think the dude was Michael W. Smith, but he was trying his best to be him)