Skyline Chili Connoisseur Club Tweetup Today!

If you’re following my twitter @AngeloMandato, then you may have seen my tweets about going to Skyline Chili Connoisseur Club Tweetups. Today (March 11) is the official March meetup at the Columbus – Bethel Road location (5 minutes from my house!!!). If you’re up for some Skyline, we’re meeting up at 11:30 am. 🙂

What’s Skyline Chili?

If you never herd of Skyline Chili, it’s a restaurant chain out of Cincinnati, Ohio that focuses their menu around Cincinnati style chili. Cincinnati style chili is not at all like your typical chili. It doesn’t have pinto beans, or any beans for that matter and is much thicker in consistency. It is a meat based chili with some spices that give it a very unique flavor. Cinnamon is a key spice, but it doesn’t have your typical sweet cinnamon flavor we’re accustomed to with most cinnamon based foods. You definitely have to try it to appreciate the flavor.

Skyline Chili is one of a number of businesses in Cincinnati that sell Cincinnati style Chili. Skyline is the only chain that I know of that has branched out of the greater Cincinnati area, you can find locations in Northeastern Ohio, throughout Kentucky and in parts of Indiana.

My favorite is called a 3-way which consists of spaghetti with chili and cheese on top. My wife heather loves the coneys with everything (hot dog with chili, cheese, onions and mustard. They also have chili cheese fries, burritos and a number of other combination.

My favorite Skyline Chili location is the one on the corner of Clifton and Ludlow Avenue near The University of Cincinnati. Awesome atmosphere, chili is consistent in flavor every time we visit, and it’s located in na pretty cool spot of town.

The Connoisseur Club

Since August of 2009, every 2nd Thursday social media fans of Skyline Chili meet at the Skyline Chili Columbus Bethel Road location for lunch. For most, this is no big deal, but for me this is great! Ever since I started working from home I rarely leave the house during the day. I typically work through lunch and never really socialize with anyone until Heather and Melanie come home. Now once a month I have an opportunity to go out, get some Skyline and talk shop!!!

The 3 Skyline meet-ups that I’ve attended have at least 20 attendees. There is a good combination of folks who come just to have lunch and talk about what they are doing and some folks who come to exchange business cards and network.

Thanks Rocky (Rockson) for organizing the meetup!

Papa Johns Pizza’s Cinnapie Disappointment

So I just ordered one of these Cinnapie’s from Papa John’s and was very disappointed to see the icing already added. I’m not sure if they compare themselves to their competitors but every where else puts the icing on the side. On top of that  I thought ordering Extra icing would mean I would get a package of icing on the side to dip the slices into. The woman at the register told me no, they just put extra icing on it. Well now I am home and I don’t see much icing on this cinnamon pie. I’m afraid to find out how much icing they put on these things when you don’t order Extra icing LOL.

And yes Heather is having the last laugh, she told me not to even order it! LOL

Update:  Heather just noticed the coupons on the pizza box expired January 31, 2010. I think the owner needs to stop showing off his Camaro in his TV commercials and do an episode of that Undercover Boss show to get his ship back on track.

Blog World and New Media Expo 2009 Wrap Up

I’m back from Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. What a weekend! At first I didn’t know what to think of the weekend but now that I’m home going through all the swag and business cards I gathered, I think the  Blog World and New Media Expo merger was a good thing.

The trip started early Wednesday morning for me. Without even leaving Columbus, I ran into Lewis Howes at the Airport. What a great guy too! I’ve seen him at other events including this year’s PodCamp Ohio but never actually had the opportunity to talk with him. It was awesome to connect, it’s not every day you meet a book author!

Once in Las Vegas, I met up with the Blubrry/RawVoice team. For the rest of the day we hung out at the pool, figured out our plan for the weekend, and then had dinner. That evening most of us were up till 1am networking at the Tempo lounge/bar. We ran into a lot of folks that evening including Average Betty, Kosso, and Geekazine. It was also great meeting with the rest of the team (Rob, Michael, Jenni, Cathy, Todd, Barry, Jeff, Brian).

Thursday morning Brian (Bj) and I walked down to the Peppermill for breakfast to check it out. Bj pointed out that the parking lot was nearly empty, but the inside was packed! Before we ate we checked out the lounge room where the Blubrry Party was going to take place. I was blown away by how cool it was. I’ll get into more detail later in this post! Bj and I then had breakfast, which I must say was awesome!

Later that morning we went to the convention center to setup our Blubrry exhibitor booth. Somehow I talked Rob and Brian into folding the t-shirts, which became T-ShirtFoldingCamp.  Below is a picture of our show notes pad (swag), Blubrry Party invite with drink tickets, Blubrry sticker, PowerPress handout and our new Blog Louder t-shirt. Oh, and Ty wanted to be in the picture too!

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Once we had the booth setup, we returned to the Peppermill with the entire team for lunch. After lunch we relaxed at the Hilton’s hot tub.

That evening the Blubrry/RawVoice team went out to dinner at the Les Artistes Steakhouse for dinner. This was our only real chance to get everyone together, so we made the best of it. I had an excellent steak and I can honestly say I did not need any Worcestershire sauce.

After dinner, most of the team went to the Tempo Louge to wind down. Unfortunately, I was dead tired and had to crash early.

Friday was the big day. I woke up early that morning to run through my slides for my session on Setting up WordPress for Podcasting at WordCamp Las Vegas held within the Blog World exhibit floor. We then headed over to the convention center pumped for the expo. Through the day traffic was heavy, I didn’t get to eat lunch until 2, and at that point all of the concessions were out of food. At 12:45 I had my session, which went ok except for the interruption by the exhibit hall speaker system. Promptly after my session I spoke with a number of interesting folks and exchanged business cards. Back at the booth traffic was still heavy. Unlike previous years, our podcast show note pads were not the most popular item folks were grabbing from our booth. Believe it or not, our hand outs were more popular than our swag. We handed out a lot of sheets about our podcasting communities, services and Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin for WordPress. The same was true for Saturday as well as Friday, folks were more interested in what we did than our t-shirts and show note pads.

Friday evening we had dinner at Casa Nicola. Company was great, but the food was awful. This was really the only bad meal I had all weekend.

Friday night was the Blubrry BlogLouder party! We arrived about 30 minutes early, which gave us time to figure out the place and down a couple drinks. Promptly at 9:00 pm, folks started making there way in and before I knew it the place was packed. Bj’s fiancee Aileen and Mat Luschek organized the party and they did an awesome job! For the first 2 hours they had 2 show girls greet guests as they came in and later in the evening Tiny Elvis and a Magician entertained guests. There was plenty of food and a live DJ as well. Here’s a link to Mat’s flickr page of party photos.

Saturday morning Brian, Rob and I had breakfast at the Paradise Cafe in the Hilton. I had really good buttermilk pancakes, another surprise as I was expecting mediocre breakfast.

After breakfast started day two of the Blubrry booth at Blog World. Traffic was lighter, even so we still did some networking and helped out a few Blubrry members. At noon they started setting up concessions with platters of different foods and a couple cash bars. I am not sure if that was planned or not, I had no idea they were going to do that. You would think they would have done that Friday as well as Saturday.

When the floor closed at 3:30, we spent the next hour and a half shipping all of the T-shirts, signage and swag. We carried all our packages to the The Fedex Kinkos on the north end of the convention center. We didn’t know there was a Kinko’s in the south end where we were. The Fedex Kinkos we went to refused to add insurance to our packages since they were being shipped ground rather than 1-2 day air. I can’t believe you can’t insure packages shipped FedEX unless it is air. Our main concern was our company signage, we just invested a lot of money into our banners, it would suck if they were damaged soon after the expo. FedEX, this is a real problem, you know you can ship ground packages with insurance with your main competitor UPS?

kinkos (Large)

Once the expo packages were sorted, everyone went back to their rooms to take power naps, showers, etc… I took the time to catch up on email and twitter.

That Saturday night Blog World hosted a BBQ poolside at the Hilton. At the last minute, we grabbed some stickers and t-shirts in case we wanted to do some networking. Once we got there we all came to a consensus that we should take a break and just hang out and have a little fun. I didn’t expect the BBQ to be any good, but I have to admit that the ribs were actually the best I’ve had in a while. I also had a Bud Light aluminum bottle, first time I seen them before. Following the BBQ was Tech Karaoke. A lot of the gang stayed later for that, unfortunately I was pretty tired and called it a night.

Some vendors that stood out this year were FatBurger, Ford, Healthy Choice, Adam Corolla and TechSmith. I never herd of FatBurger so it was great to hear about the company as well as sample some of their burgers. They gave all their burgers sizes similar to T-shirts except for their very large burger. Sizes are S, M, L, XL, and WTF. The WTF size is just that! Ford had a pretty cool booth actually, it was rather large and clean (not a lot of junk all over). It wasn’t until we stopped at the booth that we found out we could test drive some cars outside. So Bj test drove a Taurus SHO and I test drove a Mustang GT. Pretty neat cars, that Mustang was fast!  Healthy Choice was giving away samples of their food. I have to thank Healthy Choice actually, without their booth I would not have had any food on Friday. I’m a big Adam Corolla fan and was looking forward to the Top Gear TV show last year that unfortunately was canceled (stupid networks). I’m glad to see that he had a table at the expo. I think it was a smart move, it’s an indication that he is taking podcasting seriously. TechSmith also had a booth. They have a new mascot called Screennoms, which adds a more informal way for them to market their brand. Smart idea Betsy! Here’s a pic of some of the swag I got.

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In my opinion, This year’s Blog World and New Media Expo was a success. I am rather baffled by how many podcasting companies were not present at the expo. Even if the attendance wasn’t what they expected, at least having a small booth would send a better message to the public that they support the industry. Either way, I can’t wait until next year and you better believe Blubrry will be there!

We Got Tomatos!

We have tomatos! Heather and I planted 4 “Sweet 100″‘s, 2 Beefsteak and 4 “Early Ripe” tomatos this spring and over the past week or so we’ve been getting a lot of ripe tomatos. What’s amazing is, what’s pictured is just a small batch of what’s coming. I don’t know what the 100 means in the Sweet 100’s, but I suspect it’s the yield from each plant.

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I also planted some Serano peppers, which sadly did not make it.

Heather planted some pumpkins, which we’ll be reporting on sometime in September/October.

Are you growing anything this year? If so, what’s coming out of your soil?

Heather made Buckeyes! Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies

BuckeyesHeather made Buckeyes! Peanut butter and chocolate has to be the best combination ever thought of.

This recipe was pretty simple. The tricky part was melting the chocolate. Heather came up with a creative setup, she took a spaghetti pot, flipped over the strainer lid and then put a glass bowl on top of the strainer with the chocolate in the bowl. It worked perfectly! No need to invest money for a double boiler when you’re married to a genius!

Here’s a picture of a Buckeye compared to a Reese’s miniature peanut butter cup. There’s a lot of peanut butter in a Buckeye!

Buckeye compared to Reese's miniature cup

Why does Angelo Love Cheese?

Okay, you got me. I use the slogan “I love cheese” a lot. Here’s why:


Link: The Power of Cheese Commercial

The commercial dates back to the 1998/2000 elections and was used for the “Ahh, the power of cheese” series of commercials. Check out the actor who plays “Hayes for President”, he later was president in the TV show 24 a few seasons back.

And in all honesty, I do love cheese except for a couple specific cheeses, such as Feta and any cheese that’s moldy except for Parmesan. Parmesan is supposed to be moldy, right?

Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/2of2ws

New Year Update

It’s been a while since I blogged anything. I’ve been very busy. Here is my update of what is going on in my life.

RawVoice
Been very busy working on a number of projects as usual. We are about to launch a new web site on Monday, January 14, 2008. If things go well, we’ll be launching some new service each Monday for the rest of the month. We’ll see if I can keep up.
http://www.rawvoice.com/

Spaceblue
I reprovisioned the server the day after Christmas, I am happy to report that I finally have everything on-line and running strong. I quickly got the crucial items on-line. I mainly had to get web stats and a few other little things setup after the new year. Setting up the new server took much longer that I anticipated since I switched from using Apache to Lighty web servers. It is paying off though, the server is handling the same amount of traffic without using all of the system resources.
http://www.spaceblue.com

PodCamp Ohio
I’ve been leading up the charge to organize PodCamp Ohio. Over the past month, we’ve secured a venue location and launched the web site. I am pretty happy with the core podcasters participating, they are really on the ball and have no problem taking charge of items they are good at. PodCamp Ohio will be on Saturday, June 28, 2008 from 9am to 5pm at the ITT Technical Institute in Hilliard (just west of Columbus), Ohio. More details are available on the web site.
http://www.podcampohio.com/

Association for Downloadable Media
Last fall I was elected Chair of the Measurement Committee of the Association for Downloadable Media. The entire process is exciting. I purchased a copy of Roberts Rules and have been slowly coordinating all of the members of the committee. After 12 people joined the committee, I was looking for the board members to set a limit to the size of the committee so it would not become too large to manage. The consensus of the board is to allow as many ADM members to join the committees as possible. I understand the motives, as the podcasting community is oriented in a way that encourages participation, it just makes managing the committee that much harder. I am up for the challenge and started devising ideas how to manage the situation. My position as Chair of the Measurement Committee could not be more perfect for the Association since I have both a technical background with Internet Engineering and vast experience with measuring podcast downloads.
http://www.downloadablemedia.org/

The House
Dad was in town two weeks ago when I was about to fix a shower leak. The work started with Dad reminding me to buy the tool recommended to remove the faucet cartridge in the documentation I printed out. A couple of minutes later, I broke the cartridge trying to remove it with pliers. Lesson learned, still listen to your parents! At this point I think Dad was convinced we would have to call a plumber, but my plan was to buy the removal tool and a screw tap. My plan worked luckily, with the help with an extra long screw replaced in the recommended tool. The rest of the process of installing the new cartridge went smoothly. I am happy to report the shower no longer leaks! If any family or friends need to fix a Moen shower/bath leak, let me know cause I have the recommended tool to remove the cartridge. Definitely don’t try to remove it with pliers!

San Giorgio Pasta Choo Choo Wheels
I told Heather a long time ago about Choo Choo Wheels Pasta and she looked at me rather strange. Two weeks ago I came across a package of San Giorgio brand Choo Choo Wheels and snagged a box. Sam Giorgio is my preferred pasta brand. The back of the box has a recipe for spaghetti meat sauce, so I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t have all of the details here, but the main ingredient are 2 large cans of whole pealed tomatoes, 2 small cans of tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, graded and 1 pound of ground beef or sausage. I used a 1 pound roll of Bob Evans Italian Sausage. Cook the sausage, then mix everything except the Parmesan, bring to a boil then cook on a medium/low heat for 30+ minutes. When you are ready to serve, add the Parmesan, which will thicken the sauce. I like thick sauce, so stumbling upon this tip has revolutionized my spaghetti sauce making abilities! 🙂

Anyway, the sauce on the back of the Choo Choo Wheels box was awesome and so far is the closest thing I’ve been able to get to taste like real home made spaghetti sauce the way Grandma would make. She would cook the sauce for hours and have 3 different types of meats in the sauce. It is the standard which I use to judge all other sauces. Funny how that works.

What’s Next
I’m going to restart my Compiled Weekly podcast. The recent work I’ve been doing moving blogs around for RawVoice and reconfiguring the Spaceblue server with Lighty has given me a lot of content ideas for the show. I got a lot of knowledge to share about Lighty and tips with server management. I got just about everything automated so I don’t have to manage anything now. 🙂