Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 12

( #SundayLeftovers, #Pirate, #CubanFood )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week I have a very cool DIY that I plan on actually doing very shortly, an excellent recipe, and much more. So lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl

[Recipe of the Week: Ropa Vieja]

This is one of my all time favorite Cuban meals...

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds beef flank steak
1 cup beef broth
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

2. Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours.

3. When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tortillas or rice.

[DIY of the Week: PirateBox]

Here is a very detailed DIY for the geek crowd - PirateBox. It will create a mobile instant file sharing network to take on the go.

Checkout what is can do...

Click on the link for full Instructions

[Video of the Week]


Thanks for reading this week. As I mentioned last week, my writing gig for the Phillyist has come to an end with the close of that blog. The Gothamist network was kind enough to let me republish some of my favorite articles here on this blog, so I will be release one a day starting Tuesday. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bathroom Remodel - THE FINALE!

( @misterdoneright, #bathroom, #remodel )


Call Mister Done Right if you want a sweet ass bathroom of your own!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Slap

( #Slap )

Glove, Actually - An Ode to Cinema's Greatest Slaps from Jeff Smith on Vimeo.

Great slaps in movie history! (Thanks Golino!)

Granny Cloud?

( #India, #Granny )

India found a rather clever solution to offering their poorer populations more... worldly experience.

Credit: PBS/BBC

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fan Made TMNT Movie

( #TMNT, #Fans )

Yet another fan-made movie, this time it is with childhood favorites the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I love that people are doing this stuff in their free time.

Credit: Fight the Foot

Sunday, January 23, 2011

PJ Whelihans is Decadent and Depraved

( #Gonzo, #PJWhelihans )

Walking into the bar, I was immediately repulsed by the smell of cheap perfume, over cooked chicken wings, and something else... The building was schizophrenic: part pub, catering hall, concert venue, and whore house. The women surrounding the bar looked defeated, their breasts heaved upwards slightly exposed with ovals cut in the center of their shirts - I was unaware that this establishment had a dress code. My wife and I were modestly overdressed.

My thoughts were broken by the recognition of acquaintances. This was no place for human beings still in possession of their souls. My eyes once again started to scan the patrons of the bar. Groups from all walks of life: Hipsters, slackers, sportsters, families, and the chronic losers all assembled here, which I quickly determined to be the Walmart of bars - accommodating all demographics, but none of them well and certainly without character.

Image Credit: Ralph Steadman

Most people had bewildered looks in their eyes with their mouths stretched open - puzzled, forgetting the feeling of being in a crowd. The others looked overly enthused to be in such a location. A bearded slacker approached me and offered a fist-bump. I immediately understood that the poor bastard was stuck in some kind of time warp (since fist-bumps have not been socially acceptable for several years). I offered my fist in sympathy and promptly applied sanitizer to the back of my hand.

After several minutes, we were seated. I assume we were not deemed attractive enough to be near entrances or windows - instead we were seated directly next to the bathroom and the makeshift stage. I felt the sudden urge to flee. I became more alarmed when I noticed the fist-bumper seated behind me. I decided it was preferable than making eye contract - but I felt his beady eyes burrowing holes in my head. The pressure was getting intense when the waitress arrived and asked our group if we need a drink.

God Yes.

The alcohol took an unacceptable amount of time to arrive and our waitress looked different yet the same. Then I noticed her on the other side of the bar while she was still at my table, and there she was again at the table next to us. Could this girl multiply or did someone slip something in my drink? Walmart mass production at its finest, I didn’t know they were in the business of making people, but it was inevitable. I decided to call her Tripli-kate.

Checking on the fist-bumper, I noticed a figure setting up a drum set. I began to wish I brought some mace. The drummer had a greasy look that was all-too-common for Southern New Jersey cover bands. The rest of the group remained hidden from my view but I could hear them plucking away...preparing for an audio onslaught that the Nazis themselves could not conceive.

At the first struck note, a herd of wild-haired, fake-breasted, buffalo woman stampeded towards the back. Their bovine glares focused at the half-empty stage of has-beens preparing to play their brand of South Jersey Soul Music (Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Van Morrison, and a dash of Black-eye’d peas). Men soon followed the women, quietly coming close to their ample posteriors in order to make contact with their Wrangler sheathed crotches.

The unknown scent that I detected was becoming stronger. I determined it was a mixture of grease, sex, and broken ambition - a potent and dangerous concoction. It was entirely plausible that the rapture of bad food, bad music, and unfulfilled dreams could instigate a flash-orgy. We needed to leave. Immediately.

The music started as we got up. The crowd converged. Through a fetid vaginal cavity made of small gaps, cracks, and armpits—I found freedom. Out the doors, we barricaded ourselves in the car. Hearing the music reach a crescendo, the smell attained its own malodorous peak, infecting my nostrils and lungs even outdoors.

Image Credit: Ralph Steadman

I scrubbed myself raw when I got home to ensure I was not contaminated by any form of contact. I wrapped a blanked over myself and watched TV for several days until the thought of that horrible place left my mind and I was able to venture out into the world again.

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 11

( #SundayLeftovers )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week we learn about lazy teenagers with superpowers (and what some not-so-lazy kids can do with $300), Korean Burritos, and what to do with those old peanut butter jars. Let's open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: The Thought Experiment

CREDIT: Whiskeytown - Mirror, Mirror

[Recipe of the Week: Korean Seitan Burrito]
CREDIT: Living on the Vedge

1 container of Ray's Seitan, drained and rinsed
1 batch of Korean BBQ sauce (like Koji)
1 cucumber, cut into strips lengthwise
1 onion, diced
1 orange pepper, cut into strips
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of mung bean sprouts (find at local Asian market)
4 tortillas
kimchi, or shredded cabbage if kimchi is not available

1. Coat seitan in BBQ sauce and let marinate.
2. Saute onion and pepper in oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add seitan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring through.
4. Assemble burrito by layering tortilla with seitan mixture, kimchi, cucumber, cilantro, and salsa.

Top with sprouts and roll.

[DIY of the Week: Bucket Organizer]

As I am sure you have noticed on this site, I am in the middle of a bathroom remodel. Once it is complete (should be this week), I plan on reorganizing my garage which is a bit of a disaster at the moment. This DIY from Instructables is a really simple and good idea.

Shelf and Bucket Organizer

[Video of the Week]

These kids put this together for $300.00 - really impressive.

Credit: Lazy Teenage Super Heroes


Thanks for reading this week. If you didn't notice on the blog last week, Phillyist is closing shop, so after the 31st, check out the blog for some of my favorite posts. This is going to be a light content week coming up as I have work commitments that will be taking up my evenings, but I will do my best to keep entertaining. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Friday, January 21, 2011

Goodbye Phillyist

( @Phillyist, #Blogging )

Image Credit: Vic15

Phillyist announced today at 4:45 PM that the blog was closing down on January 31st. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed writing for Phillyist the last four months, so this news comes as a disappointment. I plan on taking the things I learned and incorporating them into this blog as well as looking for other places to contribute.

I have a post brewing in my head about my growing pains and experiences with Phillyist—but for now, I suggest you all check out the site and feel a little sad that a Philly blog is going dark.

PS: I should have one more post with them next week assuming a certain bar owner answers my questions.

Tips for Saving Money

( #SavingMoney, #Tips )

Image Credit: Newton Free Library

I love it when readers share ideas and tips with me and the rest of my audience. One long time reader Mark sent in his suggestions after reading my article about 2011 Financial Goals. First we will look at Mark's advice and this I will add some of my own.
  1. I suggest checking all your recurring bills and see if you can have them reduced. I was paying $50ish for my home security system when I called and asked for a reduction. They took my bill down 50%.
  2. I did the same with my television bill and also asked for less channels
  3. I'm also looking to switch utility companies—our market now has some competition which should allow me to reduce my bills.
  4. Refinance your mortage if you can.
Mark offered a bunch of great suggestions of proven techniques. Here are a few other ideas that I came up with...
  • Cooking at home: Reading this blog, you know that I like to cook. With work, school, and my little side projects, sometimes cooking is dinner is the last thing I want to do—but that adds up. I made the effort to cook at home this month (also for my dietary goals): I probably saved close to $300.00 this month by eating at home exclusively. I usually make a batch of things on Sunday to hold us over for the week. Need ideas? Check out my recipes blog.
  • Libraries: I used to average about $100 per month on books a few years ago. Now I just go to the library. Another added benefit is I don't have to store all those books.
  • Renting: Spending money is sometimes counter-intuitive to saving, but in the case of Netflix and similar services I am a big fan. In my early 20s I spent way too much money building (a now useless) DVD collection. While those movies collect dust in a box in my parents basement, I pay $9 a month for Netflix's unlimited streaming and DVD rental service. I save money (that is less than buying 1 DVD a month), shelf space, and I don't have to get off my ass to turn on another movie. PS: You can get movies for free at the library.
  • Work at home: I know some employers can't or won't approve this. Assuming your company has the technology in place, it is worth checking in to. In a time where raises and other perks have to be slashed, asking for one or two days to work remote might be nice means for compensation. You save money on transportation and potentially wage taxes.

Have any other suggestions or success story? Drop me a note on my contact form and I will include it in a future installment. Thanks for reading!

Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Ryan Adams

( #RyanAdams, #ChelseaHotel )

Someone from one of the Ryan Adams blogs posted this and I thought it was really cool. Got the book too. You should check out Ed Hamilton's book

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cool Science: Wind Energy without Turbines

( #Wind, #Energy )

Check out this video about a turbine-less wind energy solution.

NY Times - Turbine-Free Wind Power from Antfood on Vimeo.

Read more here

Raunchy Video Thursday #2 (NSFW)

( #Raunchy, #AmandaPalmer )

Here is the second offering of our Raunchy Video Thursday. This next offering is Amanda Palmer's "Map of Tasmania" which seems to be an analogy for public hair. Let's watch (again, not safe for work, not that they show anything, but if your boss walked by, it would be kind of weird).

What do you think readers?

Raunchy Video Thursday? (NSFW)

( #Raunchy, #ElGuincho )

Hi there readers,

In my internet travels the last few weeks, I have come across a few videos that most people would classify as overtly sexual. I have been trying to figure out if they are just an excuse to show some bare breasts or art. Then I thought I would crowd source and ask my readers!

First offering of the day is EL GUINCHO's Bombay. So what do you think readers—just an excuse to see naked girls or a valid enhancement of the music? Obviously, this is not safe to view at work or in front of the kids.

EL GUINCHO | Bombay from MGdM | Marc Gómez del Moral on Vimeo.

Even though I can't understand what the dude is singing about, I kinda dig the song...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lyndon Johnson asking for pants

( #President, #LBJ )

A clever animator got his hands on a tape recording of Lyndon Johnson buying pants and made this video. While mundane, there is an appeal, especially when he asks for extra nutsack space.

Put This On: LBJ Buys Pants from Put This On on Vimeo.

Enrage them with fear...

( #SarahPalin )

Credit: Animal New York

90 Second A Wrinkle in Time

( #Newbery, #Creative )

I caught this over at BoingBoing and I thought it was cool that they published this and wanted to share it myself. A group of kids did a homemade 90 second version of Madeline L'Engle's classic "A Wrinkle in Time." Click here for a summary.

"A Wrinkle In Time" In 90 Seconds from James Kennedy on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hangover Cure: Coffee and Aspirin

( #Hangover, #Coffee, #Aspirin )

Image Credit: PigPog

Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University (here in Philadelphia) have found the best cure for a hangover and it is pretty obvious: Coffee & Aspirin.

From the report:
Ethanol brings on headaches thanks to a chemical acetate it can produce and even low doses can affect some people more than others, said the study.

Professor Michael Oshinsky, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, induced headaches in rats using small amounts of ethanol.

He then gave them doses of caffeine and anti-inflammatories to find it blocked the acetate and relieved the headaches. (Credit: Gizmodo)
Knowing is half the battle kids.

Baby Meets Grapefruit

( #Funny, #Babies )

Credit: Failblog

Betty White and Tastykakes?

( #BettyWhite, #TastyKake )

How did I not see this sooner?

Credit: UWishUNu

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 10

( #SundayLeftovers, #HotChocolate, #Memphis )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week the East Coast is recovering from yet another snow storm, so I thought the general theme is "stuck in the house". Let's open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Tyler Wainright - Snow in Memphis

CREDIT: Rufus Thomas - The Memphis Train

[Recipe of the Week:Best-Ever Hot Cocoa Mix ]
Credit: Cooks Country

Makes about 20 servings

3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Salt

1. Combine ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground.
2. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months.
3. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk.

Top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows.

[DIY of the Week: Breaking DRM on Your Kindle]

Snow storms are a good time to read a book...

NOTE: Just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should... But if you want to buy books on Amazon and play them on your third party device...

[Video of the Week]

If you are stuck in the house, it is good to have some entertainment...


Okay readers, I need to do some homework. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ask A Butcher - Episode 01

( #Askabutcher, #SouthPhilly )

A little bit of background: A few months ago, I pitched this concept to one of the other blogs that I write for. My editors kindly said go for it. Scheduling the shoot had a series of set-backs, but eventually I got over to Espositos (in the Italian Market, South Philadelphia) to film. When I cut the episode, the editors had some suggestions to make it more applicable to their audience. A re-shoot was not in the cards for a while, so the footage sat.

I decided to re-cut the original material for my own audience and opted to keep this content exclusive to moving forward. So I proudly present to you the first (and hopefully not the last) installment of Ask A Butcher.

If you liked the Episode and want to ask Joe Knit questions, you can do so on my contact form. Just put "Ask a Butcher" in the subject line.

Thanks for watching and please spread the word about this one (share on facebook, twitter, etc). Because it takes coordination (getting in the way at a busy store), I want to be sure people are watching and enjoying this series before I ask to go back.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Favor: Vote for Chester the Dog

( #Dogs, #WCIU )

Hi readers, one of my friends in Chicago entered her dog in a local TV contest. Looks like Chester has a chance to win a spot in a TV ad, please vote for him.

Click here to vote for Chester!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Projectile Vomit and Mean Joe's Car

( #Lefty, #JerseyShore )

NOTE: This story is being republished and reformatted from another section of my website. It was originally written in 2006. Thanks to idiots who don't know how to enjoy things, the names have been changed to protect the not-innocent. The story takes place in the summer of 2001. My friends and I were still in college.

It was supposed to be a perfect day and in some ways it was. My friend Republicaster and I had decided to drive down to the beach to see my friend Jack and his band play. My father was in the habit of taking my car to work on Saturdays, so I took his (relatively new car) to the shore (I thought it was fair trade). We opted to go early and spend the day on the beach.

We arrived late in the morning and everything was just...fantastic. Republicaster and I swam for a few hours and introduced the term "Super Wave Crusher" into our collective vocabularies. After we had our way with the ocean, we decided to break for lunch. At this point, I should mention that we brought another guy with us. He wasn't a big part of the story except that when stood in line at the deli, I ran into a girl that I worked with (and she was with a group of attractive friends). I quickly said hello and goodbye as I could see "he-who-shall-not-be-named" assessing his odds of getting a phone number (my mental math said no chance in hell). My friend had very poor social skills and I didn't want to be embarrassed, so I pushed him out the door. Back to the story...

After lunch we walked around Sea Isle. There were plenty of girls to be ogled and we didn't pass up any opportunity. By 4 PM we decided to go to the bar Jack was playing at and get ourselves camped out. The bartender informed us that Bud was $1. Neither of us drank the stuff, but that changed.

We ordered food and a round of our usual favorites (Coke and a brown booze). I remember I had about $40 bucks cash on me and that's when we both decided to switch to beer. Around 6 PM, Jack showed up. He sat down and had a few drinks with us while the other band played. By 8ish Jack was getting ready to play. Republicaster and I helped them set up. We spent the next three hours rocking our faces off Lefty style.

I noticed something that would become a trademark of Republicaster's that night: walking around drinking, making friends, getting drunk, being playful and then getting mean. Jack noticed first (from his own experience) as Republicaster was trying to help move their equipment. Jack skillfully jedi mind-tricked him into sitting down. Republicaster continued to drink. For records, at 6 PM he started drinking dollar Buds, but 9 PM he was asking me for money. The $40 bucks I had left was dwindled to $10 and I stopped drinking for the most part. Which meant Republicaster drank anywhere from 15-20 beers in a few hours.

Jack packed up and left. Republicaster was teetering and I knew we had to get him to the car. He did another now famous move - yelled at people while walking. Republicaster started insulting the locals sitting on their porches and screaming (it was now close to midnight). We finally got him in the backseat and started on our way home. 10 minutes into the trip he started playing with the windows. Then he started sticking his head out the window (the back windows only went half-way down). We reached a desolate, wooded section of the road. It was quiet except for the one car directly behind us. His head had been out the window for a good minute and I looked back and noticed a pink mist shining in the headlights of the bar behind me. The car started to swerve. Republicaster's head was still out the window.

The fine vomit mist lasted a solid 5-6 minutes. I will compliment Republicaster and say, not one drop of puke got INSIDE my father's car. As for the outside, I had my concerns. Republicaster fell asleep for the remainder for the trip, which was a blessing on every level. When we pulled up to my parent's house, my father was sitting outside. It must have been 2 or 3 in the morning. Republicaster knew that my father would not react well to his car being coated in vomit. The old man being outside certainly put a crimp in my plan to wash it off. Republicaster started to do cartwheels on my lawn. My father looked at him, and then me and just walked into the house. I hastily hosed the car off.

The other guy drove Republicaster home and I went to bed. The next morning my car was gone again leaving me more time to inspect Republicaster's art project. My cleaning efforts the night before got most of Republicaster's mess, but he managed to coat the back bumper too. It looked like pink insulation foam all over the back. I gave my father's car a total wash and called Republicaster to curse him out—he just chuckled with self-satisfaction.

Flash forward a few years (winter 2004), a mutual friend had invited us out to have dinner and drinks at a club he was associated with. We all had an early dinner, but then our friend suggested we go to some of the other bars in the area and come back later when the club picked up. We both ended up drinking way too much.

By the time we got back to our friend's club we were not functioning on any rational level... so our friend broke out a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. I hazily remember dancing with lots of pretty girls. I sort of remember a circle of said girls around Republicaster. Rushing through the long narrow hallway leading to the bathrooms comes to mind. I clearly remember throwing up in the bathroom and NOT making a mess (I was afraid I would get my friend in trouble). The world was brought into focus.

As I walked out. The doors to the club were closed but the patrons that remained inside were allowed a last call. The pretty circle of girls surrounding Republicaster were no longer pretty (perhaps they never were or the attractive ones left for another adventure). Republicaster paid no attention as he was still in his altered state.

My friend looked at me and noticed I was suddenly lucid. He allowed/forced me to stay until he was sure I coherent to leave. As we walked out, Republicaster said he wanted to drive and then got into the back seat of my new car. He started playing with the windows on the bridge and I told him if he needed to throw up, I would pull over. Minutes later on 42, the pink mist I was so familiar with was dusting cars. I just kept driving. When we got back to my house, I was amazed that there was no vomit on my car. The white salt mix crusted on the side of my car seemed to show no sign of Republicaster's own brand of insulation.

A few weeks later as it warmed up, I took my car to car wash around the corner from my office. It went through the automated assembly line, but when it came out there was a spot that didn't come out. A small Hispanic man ran over with a solvent to clean it off and then started vomiting. He asked me if anyone had thrown up on my car and I immediately knew Republicaster's night of drinking had made it on to my car, but the saline solution locked in the flavor.

Bravo my friend, Bravo.

NASA: The Frontier is Everywhere

( #NASA, #Earth )

Thanks for sharing this Noah!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


( #Snow )

Philly: Parking with Snow

( #snow, #philadelphia )

Found this on a few of the Philly blogs and had to repost:

I noticed quite a few blog posts the last few weeks about people putting their chairs and other crap in the street to hold parking spots. This comes a no surprise to me having grown up in the city, but I think many of the cities bloggers are transplants from other cities that can manage snow or have less cars...and now it has become a "thing".

While I agree it is an asshole move, it certainly isn't anything new.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I don't like Fan-actics

( #Philadelphia, #Eagles )

I don't even need to say anything, read this:
A college professor from Lower Macungie Township who wrote a book about the first 50 years of the NFL knew Philly fans had a reputation for mistreating visiting fans, but the Wisconsin native said he didn’t know how bad it could be until he went to the Eagles game Sunday. Craig Coenen and his father, Peter Coenen, left Lincoln Financial Field jubilant after watching their beloved Green Bay Packers defeat the Eagles in the NFC wild card playoff game. “We were just thinking about how nice a day it was and it was a good memory,” Peter Coenen said. “Then I looked up and said, ‘Oh my God.’ ” His son’s Toyota Camry had been stomped on, kicked and beaten (kind of like the Eagles). Fans tore out the windshield wipers and motors and used them to scratch the paint, broke off the side mirrors and left footprints and dents on the hood, trunk and roof. “It was just drunk, obnoxious Eagles fans,” Craig Coenen said Monday after getting a repair estimate of $2,163. “Philadelphia is notorious for this, but hopefully the fans who did this are the exception, not the rule.” More likely, it will go down as another example of Philadelphia sports fans at their worst and add to their reputation as out-of-control, violent, destructive drunks and all-around sore losers.
~ Phawker

Stay classy Philadelphia.

RANT: Verizon has the iPhone...

( #iphone, #verizon, #rant )

After years of rumors, Verizon and Apple introduced a version of the iPhone that will work on the Verizon network. In the days leading to this announcement, many fanboys and fangirls have been commenting on how this will change their lives. Allow me to summarize: my life is complete. I can get on facebook and twitter, surf the internet, download apps, and think everyone else who doesn't have one is not as good as me. I don't care that the Blackberry and Android platforms already do these things...Apple is better and now so am I.
So as the news of the day is dominated by Verizon and Apple's deal - I will laugh as the mindless drones line up to pay $600 bucks for a phone that will be $200 the following year (or $49 in the case of the iPhone 3GS). I will chuckle as the unhappy AT&T customers break contract to jump ship.

Finally, I will be pissed as this mass exodus bogs down Verizon's network, recreating the issue all these people are fleeing from and taking me down with them.

PS: To all the media outlets - a phone is not headline news. Isn't there a war still going on?

I love how all of the tech sites are going nuts...
TechCrunch (It is the same damn phone, do we really need a walking tour?)

Story: My Jerry Blavat Run-In

( #JerryBlavat, #Philadelphia )

I came across this post mentioning that Jerry Blavat now has a blog. For the lucky masses unaware of Blavat's existence, Jerry is semi-famous Philadelphia disk jockey during the 1960s (and 70s?). The reason I am mentioning any of this is that I had a run in with this guy almost a decade ago at a charity event. Since his blog wants some stories, here is mine:

My tale takes place somewhere between 2003 or 2004. The setting was at a very nice Philadelphia hotel (near the Art Museum). The hotel was hosting a charity event that had something to do with Italian Americans and donations to Washington. Thanks to my father and his employer’s involvement in said charity, several tickets were purchased and I was offered a spot at the table. Having become newly single, I thought this would be an interesting place to meet women.

The crowd leaned towards the older side, but that was to be expected. That said, women my age were most definitely in attendance. Eventually I managed to break the ice with a girl near one of the carving stations (I remember because I made a comment that I was avoiding anything that would drip all over me). I started to notice an old man intently inspecting the carving station (the girl’s back was to the roast and to the older gentlemen).

This man then turns around and starts staring at my new friend’s ass. Right in front of me. No shame. He makes eye contact with me—then goes right back to looking at the girl’s ass. He then creeps over and asks what her name is (no “excuse me”, more like "hey, what's your name"). Seeing this coming, I watch the girl to capture her reaction. She was definitely caught off guard. I could tell she was trying to figure out if I knew him. So I decide to get a little playful myself and cut him off and say “Sir—that wasn’t very nice to jump into our conversation, why don’t you introduce yourself first.”

Stupid me—I gave Jerry the opening he was hoping for. “I’m Jerry Blavat.” No reaction from either the young lady or myself (prior to this evening I had never heard of Jerry and I grew up in South Philadelphia). He sees that his name did not make the intended connection, so he then offers “the geator with the heator.” Zero reaction. I could sense that Mr. Blavat’s pride was wounded, but he made no attempts at retreat. He continued to pummel this young girl with standard stalker questions: “What school did you go to?” (she had graduated 2 years earlier), “where do you work?” and then starts in with “are you with this guy?”

Are you fucking kidding me?

My new friend said no, we had just met—he then turns around and tells me to go get him a drink. I respond with something along the lines of “I hope you are joking.” He wasn’t. I then said something like “I think you had too much to drink buddy, plus I think it is past your bed time.” This amped up “the geator” and he gave me some kind of jab about the younger generation having no respect to which I responded that he didn’t seem to have any respect interrupting our conversation. At this point, my would-be lady friend politely excused herself. I shot Jerry a death stare and mumbled several curses under my breath as I walked away.

As I approached the bar, my mother intercepted me and informed me that I was speaking with THE Jerry Blavat. I ask her how she knew him, and she gives me the he's “the geator with the heater" line. I look at her at ask “what the hell does that even mean?” I don’t remember her answer, but she proceeds to ask what we talked about, and I just said, “not much, but that guy is an asshole.”

Mr. Blavat may be a respected DJ, and a member of the Philadelphia elite, but to me—he is just an old cock-blocker.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bathroom Remodel - Episode 6

( @misterdoneright, #bathroom, #remodel )

Mister Done Right was back in the house after a few days recovering from injury. Check it out.

2011: The year I get serious about finance

( #2011, #Financials )

At the start of last year, I mentioned I was doing some experiments with stocks and even started to track changes in a fictitious portfolio I created for Sunday Leftovers. After some talk and good intentions, nothing came out of it. This year I am refocusing my efforts but also trying to automate as much as I can. Let's take a look at what I have done this year:

  1. I set up Roth IRAs for both my wife and myself. A few years ago we met with a financial advisor who made us get into a bullshit mutual fund that lost about 20%. With the market being so bad, we expected the loss, but they never called us back and they had attitudes. That soured me on that whole setup for a few years. Shame on me. On 1/1/2011, I couldn't stand the knot in my stomach anymore, so I found this article and a few others like it and started a Roth with automatic deductions.
  2. More Automatic Deductions: Since buying my home and getting married, my monthly expenses have ticked up while my wife's has gone down due to merging many of our bills—as a result, I haven't saved as much money as I should have. I am okay with the arrangement since in principle she is doing the saving, but looking at my expenses, I could be doing better. So in addition to setting up automatic Roth IRA deductions, I set up a money market account with automatic deductions to help fund some expenses I know are coming this year. Small amounts that I won't notice but will add up over the year. If it goes well, I plan on expanding this practice
  3. A month of little spending: With Christmas spending over (and paying off this bathroom remodel), I am attempting a month of little spending. I am not saying no spending - you have to pay bills and groceries, but I am avoiding bars and eating out, I blocked my deals feed so I can see any sales to tempt me. This is kind of a small financial fast to kick of 2011.
  4. Reworked my 401k: I have worked for years and always contributed to a 401k, but never look at it or manage it. I have had good years and bad, but I felt like I had no control and didn't know what I was doing. I read some articles about allocations (here , here, and here), found the common ideas, got comfortable with the information and I made some much needed changes to my allocation plan.
  5. One dashboard: Now that I have all of this activity going on, I wanted to keep track of it. There are a few options—I have long been a supporter of MS Money as it does almost every I want to do, but I keep reading about Mint and may try that out as my fears about Mint are diminishing.
  6. Other Opportunities: Since I am investing with a Roth and a 401k, I don't have as much lust for the stock market as I did last year, but I am really thinking about an investment property this year.

My plan is to do quarterly write ups about my progress, but I am interested to hear what my readers are doing to save and track money. Shoot me a note on my feedback form.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 09

( #SundayLeftovers, #Shooting, #FrontierRuckus)

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! First week back from holiday - back to the warm embrace of meetings, contract reviews, school, and home construction. No time waste, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

Jersey Shore 1905

CREDIT: Frontier Ruckus - The Upper Room (Check out their website if you like the song and help them get a new van)

[Arizona Shooting]

From a historic documentation perspective, I feel like I should comment on the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, but I haven't really absorbed any information besides the fact that this poor woman was shot in the head and several people (including children) lost their lives. I don't know if there is anything to comment on other than it was a horrible thing to happen. I came across an article this morning about the 9/11 tragedy, I have my own opinions, but I will let you all walk away with your own conclusions:
Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.

Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.

Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.

Of course the World Trade Center attacks are a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.
- Cory Doctrow: Boing Boing

[Recipe of the Week: Vegetable Barley Soup]

1 onion, diced
1/2 head of celery (including leaves), chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
3 quarts vegetable stock (water can be a substitute, but the soup will be thinner)
1 1/4 cup barley
1 bay leaf
2 medium potatoes or one large potato, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes (28-30 ounces)
1 1/2 cups greens (kale, collard, spinach – whatever’s on sale), chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a soup pot, heat the oil and add the celery and onions (on high). Allow it to cook down until the onions start to become caramelized (5-10 minutes).
2. Once the onions are cooked down, add the vegetable stock and bay leaf. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the barley (which should be wash before being added into the soup)
3. Drop the mixture down to medium heat and allow the soup to simmer, mixing regularly. Barely seems to have different cooking times, so read the instructions and subtract an hour from that - that is how long you should heat the soup at this step.
4. With one hour remaining (based on the barely instructions), add the tomato, potato, and carrots. Again allow to simmer and stir regularly.

After 60 minutes add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

[DIY of the Week: Wifi Extender]

A great way to expand your wifi signal is to use a "canister" extender. Basically they look like big cans. Someone on the internet did a DIY using a can to explain how to make a canister extender. WARNING: You need to do some basic soldering but it is basic.

BudgetHack: Wifi Extender

[Video of the Week]

A Mystery: Why Can't We Walk Straight? from NPR on Vimeo.


That's all this week. I am working on a couple of things including my 2011 financial objectives (and what I am doing to hit them). If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Phillyist: Interview with Reggie Wu

( #ReggieWu, #Metal, #Philadelphia )

Phillyist published my interview with Philadelphia metal guitarist Reggie Wu.

Check it out: Phillyist Interviews...Reggie Wu

Google Android: Honeycomb

( #Android, #Honeycomb )

Normally I don't get fanboyish on the blog about specific technology, but since I have soured on Apple's entire operating model, I figured I would share this. Google's new tablet focused OS is starting to be demoed within the tech world and it looks impressive.

I will admit that I almost bought an iPad a few months ago, but knowing the trade show season in the winter would not only introduce better technology, all of the prices would probably drop. Enter Honeycomb:

Paying $600 for an oversized Android or iPhone isn't very appealing to me, but now that the operating systems are being designed for the extra size, power, and extra battery life of the tablets, I believe these devices will overtake the mobile computing market currently occupied by smaller laptops.

Kayne West Tweets...

( #KanyeWesh, #JoshGroban )

First time I can say I liked either Kayne or Josh, Kudos to Kimmel)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Chainsaw Maid 2

( #Zombies, #Sequel )

Here is the 2nd part of the online series - perhaps the end as well...

Chainsaw Maid

( #Zombies, #Claymation )

This is an oldie but a goodie...

Monday, January 03, 2011

Asparagus and Smelly Urine

( #Asparagus, #Pee )

Dave Chappelle as R. Kelly | Credit: Comedy Central

One of the great mysteries of the human condition is the odd smell of your urine when you eat Asparagus. Even odder is that for some people it doesn't happen OR they can't smell it.

Click here to see a clip of Austin Powers demonstrating....

The good people at io9 posted an article explaining that metabolites in the vegetable are not processed in the body and are passed via urine. The presence of the metabolites in the urine result in the odd odor.

The interesting thing is that some people either don't produce the metabolites or can't smell them:
"… the recognition of the asparagus odor in urine is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon; some people produce an asparagus odor that is easy to detect, and the presumption is that some people produce more odorant. However, because the odor-causing molecules have not been unequivocally identified,[…] it is not possible to measure its concentration in urine; it is reasonable to assume that odorant production varies from individual to individual, and people with urine that does not have a detectable odor may produce it, albeit at a low concentration."
Yet another thing to think about when you are peeing...Drip, Drip, Drip.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 08

( #SundayLeftovers, #bacon, #NeilCleary )

Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! The last week of celebrating holidays and away from work has been restful - although early attempts at starting my next MBA course were thwarted by being given the wrong assignments - oh well, I think I needed a break to recharge my batteries. With the holidays behind us and the shine of New Years resolutions already starting to dull, it is time to get back to normal routine. I can't think of a better way than to open to fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]

CREDIT: Steve Kelly - Jersey City

CREDIT: Neil Cleary - Genevieve

[Recipe of the Week: Mushroom Bacon Tart]
CREDIT: Kitchen Daily


2 (9-inch) packaged pastry rounds
1 ounce dried mixed mushrooms
8 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch wide pieces
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved and sliced thin
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Equipment: a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan


Line baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on short sides. Unroll pastry and overlap rounds by 4 inches on a lightly floured working surface. Brush overlap area of bottom pastry round lightly with water, then press overlapping areas together.

Roll out pastry to form a rough rectangle (about 19- by 13-inches), then cut to a 15- by 12-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Fit pastry into pan, trimming edges to leave about 3/4-inch-high sides. Lightly prick bottom and sides all over with a fork and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F with rack in middle.

Meanwhile, pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over dried mushrooms and soak until softened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Line pastry shell with foil and fill with pie weights or 2 cups dried beans. Bake until sides are set and edges are pale golden, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove foil and weights carefully and bake until bottom is light golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool pastry shell in pan on a rack.

Drain mushrooms in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, squeezing mushrooms, and reserve liquid. Rinse mushrooms to remove any grit, then squeeze out excess water and chop.

Preheat oven to 325F with rack in middle.

Cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, then transfer to paper towels. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from skillet, then cook fresh mushrooms and onion with a large pinch of salt over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. (Use vegetable oil if not enough fat in skillet.) Stir in garlic, then add dried mushrooms with soaking liquid and briskly simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is totally evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in bacon and scatter evenly over crust.

Whisk together eggs, cream, sage, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then pour over bacon mixture. Bake until custard is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool tart in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Carefully lift out of pan using foil as an aid, then cut into 50 pieces (each about 1 1/2- by 1 1/4-inch). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make ahead: Filling (without custard) can be made 1 day ahead and chilled once cooled. Reheat before proceeding with recipe. Pastry can be rolled out and baked 1 day ahead and kept, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Tart can be baked 3 hours ahead and cooled completely, then kept loosely covered with plastic wrap at room temperature.

[DIY of the Week: Remove a Stripped Screw]

This isn't really a DIY, but I am sure you will be doing things post Christmas where this will come in handy...
PS - You need a rubber band.

Remove a Stripped Screw without an Extractor

[Video of the Week]

Bill Shatner must have on some seriously good drugs to keep doing these performances...


I am keeping things brisk today because my friends tell me my articles are too long. I have an interesting interview coming this week but I am not sure if it will on Phillyist or here. I will also post the final (hopefully) episodes of the bathroom remodel (things are coming along). If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Wendy's Training Video

( #Wendys, #Chili )

After seeing this video, I feel kind of sad that my work doesn't have a soulful training video. Something I need to bring up with the powers that be - but only if there is a part that talks about cookies being soooooo gooooood.

I am going to be singing this all day....